With the 2021 NFL season coming to an end, “Black Monday” and beyond is a “thing.” The Washington Football Team has coach Ron Rivera in place … but in the NFL, movement is happening.
Who else is on the hot seat? Who will receive a pink slip? Follow along with WashingtonFootballSI.com for up-to-date information on who will be looking for a new coach moving into the new year.
FEB 6 TEXANS LOOKING INTERNALLY According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Texans are now in talks with defensive coordinator Lovie Smith for their opening. The news was first reported by Mark Berman of Fox 26 News in Houston.
Smith, 63, was brought in last season by first-year head coach David Culley as the team’s new defensive coordinator. He has multiple years of experience as a head coach at both the NFL and college level, previously serving with the Chicago Bears (2004-12), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014-15), and Illinois (2016-20).
FEB 6 KELLEN STAYING The Miami Dolphins’ head coaching search was down to two candidates. But as of Sunday, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, who was said to be the “front-runner,” is getting the job.
Meaning Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who was in play to such an extent that we’re told Moore was working to assemble a staff he would take to Miami, is now staying at The Star.
There are reports that McDaniel‘s interview with the Dolphins lasted 10 hours … it’s quite likely that Moore’s interview was lengthy as well
But the Dolphins, who are trying to replace the fired Brian Flores, and have a bit of a mess on their hands, are going to ask McDaniel to fix the mess.
Moore, 33, has just four years of coaching experience but has long been viewed as a rising star after guiding the Cowboys offense to No. 1 rankings in various NFL categories.
He was in play. But now he’s back in play with Dallas.
FEB 6 TERYL AUSTIN NAMED STEELERS DC The Pittsburgh Steelers have named Teryl Austin as the team’s new defensive coordinator, replacing Keith Butler.
Austin, 56, has been on Pittsburgh’s coaching staff as an assistant since 2019.
Austin previously served as the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions (2014-17) and Cincinnati Bengals (2018).
FEB 3 JAGS HIRE PEDERSON The Jacksonville Jaguars hired former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson to be the franchise’s next head coach.
Pederson, 54, spent five seasons in Philadelphia as a head coach, making three playoff appearances including a win in Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots.
Pederson played quarterback for 14 seasons in the NFL, and now he will be given the task to turn around the Trevor Lawrence-led offense, which ranked 27th in the NFL last season.
FEB 1 BRADY CALLS IT QUITS … FOR GOOD THIS TIME Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady announced in a statement Tuesday that he is going into retirement following seven Super Bowl titles and 22 seasons.
Brady’s retirement comes nine days after the Bucs lost in the NFC Divisional Round to the Los Angeles Rams despite coming back from a 27-3 deficit in the second half.
Brady leaves the NFL at the top of the all-time passing yards (84,520) and touchdowns (624) list.
FEB 1 HARRIS LEAVING? The Indianapolis Colts may be taking away from Washington a valued member of the staff.
With Matt Eberflus taking over as the new head coach of the Chicago Bears, the Colts have been interviewing candidates for the defensive coordinator job.
One of those candidates is current Washington Football Team defensive backs coach Chris Harris, who is reportedly the “leading candidate” for the role, per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network.
Harris was a second-team All-Pro during his 2005-2012 playing career with the Chicago Bears, where one of the scouts who helped draft him was the man who is now the Colts general manager, Chris Ballard.
JAN 29 BRADY CALLS IT QUITS Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is supposedly going into retirement following seven Super Bowl titles and 22 seasons.
Brady’s retirement – maybe prematurely reported by ESPN – would come less than a week after the Bucs lost in the NFC Divisional Round to the Los Angeles Rams.
Brady leaves the NFL at the top of the all-time passing yards (84,520) and touchdowns (624) list.
JAN 28 NYG GUY The Giants are going with offense, and going with Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to be the team’s next head coach.
Daboll gets the job over fellow Bills assistant Leslie Frazier, over former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores (a Brooklyn native) and, presumably, over Dan Quinn, the Cowboys defensive coordinator who agreed to a deal to stay in Dallas.
The Bills have in the last few years been on an offensive role, but were ousted from the playoffs last week in a high-scoring thriller loss to the Chiefs.
JAN 27 AARON NEXT? The Denver Broncos sifted through 10 candidates, then whittled down to three their list. But early Thursday morning, the decision was made, and the job-winner is Nathaniel Hackett of the Green Bay Packers.
And maybe the reason is Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.
As it relates to another big picture: Just as Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn maybe being in Denver was tied by gossip to the possibility that his friendship with Russell Wilson might lure the QB out of Seattle via trade, Denver GM George Paton’s interest in Hackett surely has something to do with the coach’s potential for luring veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers out of Green Bay – where obviously Hackett once coached him – to Denver.
Rodgers is a fan of Hackett and has gushed about his old offensive coordinator’s worthiness to be a head coach.
And if there is a real connection there? One “big idea” for the WFT in terms of fixing its QB spot just flew off the table.
JAN 25 PAYTON’S LAST CALL
The New Orleans Saints enter the conversation for a new head coach following Tuesday’s news. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Sean Payton has informed the Benson family that he will be “stepping away” from the team after 16 seasons. According to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football, Payton is retiring and will not be interested in coaching as of this time.
Hired in 2006, Payton, 58, became one of the two faces to transform the Saints from one of the league’s worst teams into a stable organization. Teamed with future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, the Saints became one of the NFC’s best franchise, finishing with nine seasons of 10-plus wins and nine playoff appearances during that span.
This past season without Brees, the Saints finished 9-8, missing the postseason for the first time since 2016. Jameis Winston was expected to replace Brees, but a torn ACL in Week 8 cost him the remainder of the season, leading New Orleans into playing four different quarterbacks over the 17-game period.
Payton finishes his time with the Saints with a 152-89 record and a Super Bowl win in 2009. Multiple reports suggest that the Dallas Cowboys could be interested in firing Mike McCarthy in order to bring Payton over after an early Wild Card Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers earlier this month.
JAN 11: JUDGE-MENT DAY ARRIVED IN NEW YORK FOR JOE
The New York Giants have fired Joe Judge after two seasons in the Big Apple. Following high expectations and a lucrative offseason of spending in free agency, New York finished with a 4-13 record and last in the NFC East.
In two season, Judge, 40 posted a 10-23 record. In his first year with the franchise, the former New England Patriots special teams coordinator impressed, finishing second in the NFC East with a 6-10 record.
The Giants initially elected to keep Judge in large part due to the trend of firing coaches early. Both Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur were fired after two seasons. New York has not posted a winning record since 2015.
The Giants will also be looking for a new general manager after Dave Gettleman announced he would retire.
JAN 10: FLORES FINISHED WITH DOLPHINS
In a shocker, the Miami Dolphins have fired head coach Brian Flores following a win over the New England Patriots Sunday. Miami finished the 2021 season with a 9-8 record after starting the year off 1-7.
Flores, 40, spent the last seasons at the helm for the Dolphins, posting a 24-25 record. Last season, Miami finished 10-6, but failed to make the playoffs.
The Dolphins were expected to be large players this offseason in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, but perhaps the firing of Flores changes that. Why? Because one of Watson’s attractions to Miami was the coach.
Logically, one would assume Dolphins ownership has considered this while dismissing Flores. Meanwhile, in the Re-Thinking Things Dept., one wonders if Ron Rivera is ready to reconsider his position on not wanting to “overpay” for a great QB … and whether Watson, who sources tell us would’ve vetoed a rumored trade to Philadelphia, would accept one to D.C.
JAN 10: BEARS START FRESH AT HEAD COACH AND GENERAL MANAGER
The Chicago Bears have fired both head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Nagy, 43, won the NFL’s Coach of the Year award after his first season in 2018, when he led the Bears to a 12-4 record and reached the playoffs for the first time in eight years. Following a hot start, he couldn’t sustain that success over the ensuing three seasons.
Nagy finished his four-year run in Chicago with a 34-31 record. With three different quarterbacks in 2021, the Bears stumbled to a 6-11 record, finishing third in the NFC North.
Pace, 44, was hired as the Bears GM in 2015. He is perhaps best known for his infamous 2017 selection of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 selection over names like Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
JAN 10: VIKINGS NIX TOP TWO NAMES
The Minnesota Vikings have fired head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman following the 2021 season. The news was first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Zimmer, 65, served as the Vikings coach since 2014. During his eight-year run, Minnesota posted a 71-56-1 record, making the postseason three times with an appearance in the NFC Championship in 2018.
Since the 2018 season, the Vikings have failed to win the NFC North. Zimmer has posted a 33-31-1 record with only two winning seasons. Minnesota finished 8-9 in 2021 despite high expectations following last year’s NFL free agency and the NFL draft.
Spielman, 59, was hired as the team’s GM back in 2012. Prior to his tenure in the front office, Spielman served as Minnesota’s Vice president of player personnel from 2006-11.
JAN 9: TEXANS AND McDANIELS? TexansDaily.com sources have indicated that the Houston organization is leaning toward retaining head coach David Culley. But at the same time, an NFL source has told us to keep an eye on Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to the Texans should the club’s deep examination of the work of Culley lead to a change. Full story here.
JAN 9: BRONCOS FINISHED WITH FANGIO
The Denver Broncos are parting ways with Vic Fangio following three seasons. The Broncos finished 7-10 in 2021 with a 28-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Fangio, 63, has been regarded as a top-tier defensive coordinator during the past two decades before being hired in 2019. Taking over for Vance Joseph, Fangio finished with a 19-30 record. Denver’s best season under his direction was back in 2019 with a 7-9 record.
“This morning, George and I informed Vic of the decision to part ways with him as head coach of the Denver Broncos,” President and CEO Joe Ellis said in a statement. “For the last three seasons, Vic put his heart and soul into coaching the Broncos. I want to thank Coach Fangio for giving his maximum effort to our organization since the day he was hired.”
The firing of Fangio now makes Denver the third open position this offseason. Both the Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars have begun their searches after the resignation of Jon Gruden and firing of Urban Meyer.
The Jags search, by the way, will include a visit with former Texans boss Bill OBrien.
Fangio will be one of the more sought-after coordinators this offseason after his success with the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and other teams.
JAN 8: RHULE’S REIGN CONTINUES
The Carolina Panthers will retain Matt Rhule as head coach for the 2022 season. In two years with the Queen City franchise, Rhule has posted a 10-22 heading into Sunday’s season finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Rhule’s first job this offseason will be to find the Panthers’ next offensive coordinator. The team fired Joe Brady during its bye week. Brady, who is best known for his time with Joe Burrow during the 2019 national championship season run with LSU, never wanted to commit to the run game, which was deemed a problem by Rhule.
Panthers owner David Tepper gave Rhule a seven-year, $62 million contract following the firing of Ron Rivera. In addition, Tepper committed to paying $6 million to buy out Rhule’s deal at Baylor.
JAN 8: QUINN IN? NFL sources tell CowboysSI.com that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will be a “top candidate” in Denver as Fangio moves on. That full story here. Dallas offensive coordinator Kellen Moore could also leave the Cowboys this offseason.
JAN 7: BOB BACK? Sources tell us that the Jaguars are serious about including Bill O’Brien in their search for a new head coach to replace the disgraced Urban Meyer. O’Brien is the offensive coordinator at Alabama, with the title game on Monday night, and will interview with the Jags following that game. More info here.
JAN 6: DEL RIO SPEAKS OUT Is Jack Del Rio going anywhere? Let him tell you, here.