Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will pursue head coaching opportunities in 2017, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, and is virtually certain to be moving on from New England after this season. After years of hedging his bets and giving strong indications he was most likely to stay with Bill Belichick, McDaniels is prepared to move on if the right opportunity presents itself.

Given his strong work with backup quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett this season, on top his long body of excellent schematic and play-calling work, McDaniels is in line to be among the most sought-after coaching candidates in the league. And, unlike in some past years where he was opposed to moving his family again or had other concerns about the timing of leaving New England, sources close to him are adamant that, while fully focused on the task at hand with New England, the former Broncos head coach will be open to exploring opportunities this winter and is ready to embark on his second opportunity to coach a team.

Two of McDaniels' former colleagues -- Jon Robinson (Tennessee) and Bob Quinn (Detroit) -- are young general managers who could be in the market for coaches, and this is already shaping up as a season in which the norm of six head coaching openings per year does not seem a stretch. As reported last season, McDaniels is among a legion of coordinators who think highly of Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.

McDaniels has take criticism over the years for his failures during his first head-coaching stint in Denver, but his friends and colleagues are adamant that he learned much from that experience and will operate in a far less autocratic manner the second time around. McDaniels' ability to design offenses and develop quarterbacks is stellar and widely known, and he has worked on adjusting his ability to better interact with players as well. He is still just 40 years old despite having coached in the NFL since 2001.