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Soon enough, six to eight NFL head coaching jobs will be vacant, and team owners will be placing permission slips with rival teams to interview their talented coaches.

And whether an owner has his or her eye on one specific candidate or not, it would simply be good business to cast as wide a net as possible due to NFL rules regarding interviewing timelines.

The NFL is recommending teams try to interview — whether in-person or virtually — as many candidates as they can in the coming weeks so that they aren't stuck once the conference championship games are played. It's a rule that caught the Arizona Cardinals in an awkward spot last year, and it's one these other teams should look to avoid in 2024.

Only second interviews with coaching candidates whose teams are playing conference championship week will be allowed that week. So teams have part of this week and the entire following week to get their initial interviews done before potentially having to wait until after Feb. 11's Super Bowl.

If a team wants to interview a head-coach candidate currently employed by another team but is not in the playoffs, they can do so virtually midweek this week. That timeline also applies to coaches on the Ravens and 49ers, who each have first-round byes. If that coach is on any other playoff team, they can't interview until after the wild-card game has been played. All of those interviews would be virtual, by the way.

Once the calendar reads Jan. 22, teams can interview those same coaches employed by other clubs in person. NFL owners voted this year on a resolution to push the in-person interviewing back a week in an effort to slow down the hiring process.

But once we get to the conference title games, that's when things change. If a team has not conducted an initial interview with a candidate, and that coach's team is in the conference championship game, they cannot conduct an initial interview (either in person or virtual) until the conclusion of that team's season.

In essence, if you don't connect with a coach virtually between midweek next week and Jan. 22, and his team is in the conference championship game, you can't talk to him until his team has either lost in the conference championship or won/lost the Super Bowl.

This was the issue the Cardinals faced last year during their head-coaching hiring process. The team hired Monti Ossenfort as general manager on Jan. 16 during the week of the divisional round games. As he got his footing, the Eagles were heading to the conference championship game, and after that, the Cardinals couldn't request then-Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon for an initial interview.

Arizona had to wait until the conclusion of Philadelphia's season, which was the Super Bowl, before they could interview Gannon. They did, of course, but the league eventually ruled the Cardinals had tampered with Gannon by reaching out to him during an impermissible time and were ultimately docked some mid-round draft status.

Suffice to say, the interview request slips will be flying in the coming days as teams with openings will hope to secure an initial interview with several candidates so they aren't stuck two weeks from now.