NFL Odds: Bill Belichick, Jim Harbaugh headline coaching carousel

Jordan Ramsay | Updated Jan 16, 2024

NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots

Seven NFL teams have head coaching vacancies and there are some big names available.

There’s the smell of blood in the water in the NFL’s coaching carousel this year as seven teams are currently looking for a new head coach. A couple of great coaches were axed after the regular season, including Bill Belichick, who is out in New England after 24 years and six Super Bowls, while Seattle moved on from their own Super Bowl-winning coach in Pete Carroll.

Let’s take a look at all the head coach vacancies in the NFL as well as the best candidates for each job.

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Atlanta Falcons

Arthur Smith was a model of consistency in his time as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and that’s not really a compliment. Smith finished with a 7-10 record in each of the three seasons he led the Falcons before being fired on January 8.

Atlanta ownership has committed to finding a coach capable of returning the team to the Super Bowl and that has people looking at Bill Belichick. Atlanta makes sense for Belichick as he would likely be given full control of football operations and the NFC South division is wide open for the taking as he continues to climb the all-time wins list.

Best bet for next Falcons head coach: Bill Belichick

Carolina Panthers

Frank Reich’s time in Carolina set a dismal record as his 11 games in charge of the Panthers is the shortest tenure for a head coach in the last 45 years. Carolina ultimately finished dead last in he NFL standings and now some people are wondering if a former candidate could get the job.

Current Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator, and former Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore interviewed for the Panthers’ opening last year before the team decided to go with Reich. It makes a lot of sense for Carolina to look at Moore again as the focus will be on the development of quarterback Bryce Young and Moore has experience getting the best out of young quarterbacks like Justin Herbert and Dak Prescott.

Best bet for next Panthers head coach: Kellen Moore

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders cleaned house by firing head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Siegler after a 3-5 start to the season. They named linebackers coach Antonio Pierce interim head coach and assistant general manager Champ Kelly interim general manager, so now they need to decide if they are going to remove the interim titles or move on.

Pierce turned things around for Las Vegas, leading the team to a 5-4 down the backstretch of the season, but if a new general manager is brought in, they will likely want to pick their own head coaching candidate. Detroit Lions coordinator Ben Johnson is bound to be an attractive target. The Lions ranked in the top-10 in both passing and rushing efficiency in the regular season, two key areas the Raiders need to improve.

Best bet for next Raiders head coach: Ben Johnson

Los Angeles Chargers

After a disastrous Week 15 game that saw the Chargers allow 63 points against a below-average Raiders team, head coach Brandon Staley was fired. Staley finished the season with a 5-9 record, ultimately gong 24-24 over three seasons.

There’s a lot of noise linking recent national championship winning head coach Jim Harbaugh to L.A. Harbaugh had a lot of success in his four seasons as head coach of the 49ers, leading San Francisco to two NFC championship games and a Super Bowl appearance. He also has the skills to further develop franchise quarterback Justin Herbert, which is essential to L.A.’s chances for success.

Best bet for next Chargers head coach: Jim Harbaugh

Seattle Seahawks

Pete Carroll left some big shoes to fill when it was announced he was out in Seattle. Carroll is the winningest coach in franchise history with a 139-89-1 regular season record and he led the team to their only Super Bowl win in 2013.

Dan Quinn makes a lot of sense for Seattle. He has experience as a head coach, leading Atlanta to a Super Bowl appearance in 2016, and he was part of Seattle’s 2013 Super Bowl winning team as defensive coordinator, serving as play-caller for the famed “Legion of Boom” secondary.

Best bet for next Seahawks head coach: Dan Quinn

Tennessee Titans

The Titans moved on from Mike Vrabel following a 6-11 record this season. Vrabel finished his tenure in Tennessee with a 54-45 regular season record, leading the Titans to AFC South crowns in 2020 and 2021.

Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald should be a hot commodity in the off-season. Macdonald’s unit led the NFL in sacks (60) and takeaways (31) and he has reportedly already interviewed for the top job in Tennessee.

Best bet for next Titans head coach: Mike Macdonald

Washington Commanders

Ron Rivera was canned by Washington after going 26-40-1 over four seasons. With a new ownership group, the Commanders need to find a reliable staring quarterback as well as a new head coach.

Washington might not have to look far for a new head coach as current offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is thought to be the leading candidate. Bieniemy won two Super Bowls as running backs coach and offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs and he has a reputation as a tough coach who knows how to get the best out of his team.

Best bet for next Commanders head coach: Eric Bieniemy