The Packers' sudden dismissal of coach Mike McCarthy last Sunday caught the Super Bowl-winning coach by surprise, and immediately put him atop the wish list of several other NFL franchises. But it does not ensure that McCarthy will coach in 2019.

Several sources close to the coach said that McCarthy will be judicious and careful in deciding where and when to coach again, and that while he is very open to the prospect of doing so in 2019, it is far from a guarantee. McCarthy will spend this month assessing the landscape and spending time with his family, and his representatives have already been fielding inquires from interested teams, league sources said. McCarthy and Ravens coach John Harbaugh (who has just one year left on his contract and who also has a Lombardi Trophy as an NFL head coach), have long been viewed in ownership and upper-management circles as by far the best two potential coaching hires for 2019, if available.

While many in the media have been linking McCarthy to the Browns, due primarily to his ties to Cleveland general manager John Dorsey from their time in Green Bay together, numerous sources close to Dorsey and McCarthy view that coupling as far less than a slam dunk or sure thing. In fact, they believe it is more likely than not that McCarthy does not end up in Cleveland. Sources who have worked with McCarthy in the past maintain that they believe the Panthers and Ravens jobs would actually have the highest appeal to the coach, if they were to open up, and they do not discount the prospects of him sitting out a year if he doesn't feel the right connection with a franchise and its ownership.

"Mike is not going to take a job just to take a job," said one of his close friends.

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Indeed, with the supply of qualified and proven coaches rarely meeting the demand, McCarthy would remain very attractive in 2020 as well were he to take a different career route in the upcoming season. Several close to McCarthy also believe his ultimate dream job would be to reunite with his close friend John Schneider – whom he worked with in Green Bay – in Seattle, were Pete Carroll to retire at any point in the not-too-distant future, though Carroll has shown no signs of slowing down and has the Seahawks back in the playoffs were they to start today.

McCarthy, who turned 55 last month, reached the playoffs nine times in 13 years, including eight years in a row. He won the Super Bowl in 2010 and amassed a record of 125-77-2 with the Packers.