The Jaguars finally parted ways with coach Gus Bradley on Sunday, ending a historically bad stretch of football in Jacksonville and opening up an interesting job opportunity for a future coach.
It's a good job for a number of reasons. There's a patient ownership group (although perhaps less patient than last time) that doesn't meddle in football operations. There's talent in place on both sides of the ball, although the offense with Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson as feature pieces clearly took a step back in 2016. The division is where you want to be, with the AFC South perennially being contested by teams that no one is mistaking for great. There's no state income tax!
The Jags job isn't quite as good as the Rams job for a variety of reasons, but there absolutely will be plenty of people interested in the opportunity. Let's look at a few candidates. Make sure and bookmark our coaching tracker in order to stay up with the latest rumors.
Doug Marrone, OL Coach, Jaguars
Marrone is the pretty obvious logical candidate to step in as an interim head coach. He previously headed up the Bills and nearly took them to the playoffs, providing Buffalo its only winning season since 2004. With two weeks left to play and the Jags 2-12, it's really easy to see the team responding with a pair of impressive and surprising wins and the franchise deciding Marrone is the guy to keep going forward.
Josh McDaniels, OC, Patriots
Does this seem like a stretch? McDaniels will get run with any of the potential openings, and it might boil down to how he feels about the available quarterbacks out there. If McDaniels is a fan of Blake Bortles -- and that would be a surprise, but it's not out of the question -- he might look at Jacksonville as a great landing spot with plenty of talent. The Jaguars were also reported to be interested in McDaniels earlier this month. He's going to be a hot name out there, with both the Rams and Jaguars firing their respective coaches in time to let them potentially interview candidates during the bye week of the playoffs. The Pats are a good bet to be off that week.
Kyle Shanahan, OC, Falcons
Another name who is is hot in NFL circles because of his work with the Falcons, Shanahan would be the classic "ex-girlfriend" hire for Jacksonville. You always see teams go in the opposite direction of the previous coach, and Shanahan would be a polar opposite to Bradley. He's engineered quality offensive production in multiple stops and has Matt Ryan firing at an MVP pace in 2016.
Tom Coughlin, ex-Giants coach
What a logical fit this would be for the Jaguars. The two-time Super Bowl winner returning to his old stomping grounds to try and give the Jaguars a modicum of respectability by instilling some tough love on a team that needs to tighten up the ship. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has previously reported about the possibility of this being a match, so it should very much be on both sides' radar.
Sean Payton, HC, Saints
La Canfora reportedly earlier Sunday that Payton could be a trade candidate at an affordable price this offseason. He's obviously had a lot of success in New Orleans, winning a Super Bowl and presiding over Drew Brees' great run. The Jaguars will have a high pick this year, meaning a second-round pick could be in play if they decide they want the Saints coach. Payton could likely demand some personnel control in Jacksonville and the Jags play in the AFC, making a trade an easier move for New Orleans.
Jim Bob Cooter, OC, Lions
It's impossible to ignore the job Cooter has done with Matthew Stafford and the Detroit offense over the past year and a half. He's extremely young (32) but if the Jags front office falls in love with Cooter during the search process, he's absolutely a viable candidate. This would doubly apply if Dave Caldwell stays (as expected) he will likely want someone who can fix Bortles.
Sean McDermott, DC, Panthers
McDermott's star has cooled a little because of the Panthers struggle in 2016, but it really shouldn't. After a slow start, he's produced a high-end defense despite injury (Luke Kuechly) and a loss of talent (Josh Norman) and real pass rush.