We're just a few days away from Black Monday, which means we're just a few days away from a whole bunch of NFL head coaching jobs suddenly being up for grabs. 

The rumor mill is already churning and will be going absolutely wild by this time next week, but ahead of this weekend's slate of regular-season finales, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at all of the jobs that could conceivably become available, and at who those teams should look at to fill the vacancy if they decide to move on from the current man in charge. 

A few things to note before we begin: 

  • We're listing jobs that might become open at some point this offseason. Some of them will and some of them won't. But these are the ones we could see possibly becoming available. 
  • This is not a set of predictions. It's merely a pairing of qualified candidates we think would work really well in each potential opening. 
  • We're limiting the pool of candidates to current coordinators or position coaches. That means no current head coaches (so you won't see Bruce Arians on the list). That means no former head coaches that are currently out of the league (so you won't see Jon Gruden). And that means no college coaches (so you won't see David Shaw or Jim Harbaugh).

Without further ado ... 

Chicago Bears: Vikings OC Pat Shurmur

Shurmur has done excellent work with young quarterbacks throughout his career. He worked with Donovan McNabb from 2002 to 2008, helping the former Eagles star to some of the best seasons of his career. His move to St. Louis coincided with the Rams' rapid offensive improvement and Sam Bradford winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. Shurmur didn't experience much success in Cleveland, but nobody does; and when he went back to Philadelphia following his stint in charge of the Browns, all he did was help Nick Foles have one of the most unlikely seasons in history. Foles threw 27 touchdowns and two interceptions while posting a 119.2 passer rating with Shurmur running the offense. This year, he's taken journeyman Case Keenum and helped him pilot the NFL's seventh most-efficient offense. 

All of which is to say that letting Mitchell Trubisky work with Shurmur during the early part of his career would be a great idea. Shurmur knows how to use mobile quarterbacks (see: McNabb, Michael Vick, Keenum), and he always seems to get his players to cut down on their turnovers as well. All of that makes him a great fit in Chicago, where the Bears have a solid defense but badly need to figure out a way to move the ball consistently. 

Cincinnati Bengals: Bengals DC Paul Guenther

Admittedly, this one is not very exciting. 

But the Bengals are a team that rarely takes risks or ventures outside of the building when importing new personnel, so elevating Guenther to take over for the likely-departing Marvin Lewis makes sense. (Notice how they're also interested in former Bengals offensive coordinator and current Browns coach Hue Jackson? Again, they don't often think outside the box in Cincinnati.) The Bengals have often had good defenses under Guenther though, and elevating him to the top of the pyramid -- even if only to give the players a different voice to listen to that isn't Lewis' -- could be a nice change of pace that would still be in-character for the team.

Denver Broncos: Texans DC Mike Vrabel

If firing a coach after just one season doesn't seem very John Elway-like, hiring a Texans coach that can accentuate the strengths of his team certainly does. (And the Broncos have been so bad this season that they could easily justify making a change.) Elway hired Gary Kubiak to energize the Broncos' offense a few years back. Vrabel could do the same for the team's defense this time around. 

Vrabel is seen as a rising star of a coach, having worked his way up from coaching linebackers and then the defensive line at Ohio State to coaching linebackers in Houston and finally working as the team's defensive coordinator. He's helped Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney in their careers, and while Von Miller needs no tutoring, Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett do. Vrabel could give the team a do-over at getting the same kind of guy they tried to reel in last year: a young defensive mind that can keep the team near the top of the league in preventing other teams from scoring for years.  

Cleveland Browns: Chiefs OC Matt Nagy

The Browns already hired former Chiefs GM John Dorsey as their new general manager, and it makes sense that Dorsey would be interested in the Chiefs' current offensive coordinator. Nagy worked with Andy Reid in Philadelphia and followed him to KC, where he worked as quarterbacks coach for three years before being promoted to OC when Doug Pederson left to take over for Chip Kelly in Philly. 

The Chiefs have had a very efficient offense during Nagy's time in KC, and he's done really nice work with Smith. And since taking over play-calling duties from Reid a few games ago, the Chiefs' offense has shot itself into the stratosphere. Cleveland actually has some talented offensive players that Nagy could work with over the next several seasons (Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson, David Njoku, and a good line), and Dorsey and Nagy can have their pick of quarterback prospects at the top of this year's draft. 

Give him a good defensive coordinator to work with some of the talent already on-hand, then go on a little shopping spree this offseason (the Browns have more than $118 million in cap space), and the Browns could actually make the jump back to respectability next year. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Eagles OC Frank Reich

The Bucs elevated Dirk Koetter to the top spot prior to the 2016 season because they thought he could take Jameis Winston to the next level and they didn't want to risk losing him to another team. That hasn't happened. Winston has regressed this year, and Koetter's team has spiraled on both sides of the ball. 

With this match, we acknowledge that the Bucs had the right idea in going with a QB guru for Winston in the top job, but we give him one that now has a track record of success. Reich spent time working with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, Philip Rivers in San Diego, and now Carson Wentz in Philly. He's also worked as a motivational speaker, so maybe he can give Jameis lessons on giving pregame speeches that don't involve the eating of Ws

Arizona Cardinals: Lions DC Teryl Austin

With Bruce Arians possibly leaving Arizona this offseason, and with Carson Palmer and possibly Larry Fitzgerald likely to follow him into retirement, it's full-on rebuild time for the Cardinals. 

They could really go in any direction with their next coach, but the trend for teams is often to go with the opposite of what they have in place before a change. Arians is an older (65), old-school offensive coach. Austin is a younger (52), newer-style defensive coach. He's worked all over the place during his coaching career, including in Arizona from 2007 through 2009. His specialty is defensive backs, which makes sense for a team with Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu

Given that the team will have to rebuild its offense from scratch at some point (it's a good thing they have David Johnson to whom they can hook the new foundation), it's important that they solidify and accentuate their strengths on defense. Austin can do that. 

Indianapolis Colts: Rams OC Matt LaFleur

It sure seems like the Chuck Pagano Era will mercifully come to an end this offseason. The Colts have a roster that is seemingly almost entirely dependent on the health of Andrew Luck, so it'd be nice if the next coach of the team was someone that had shown an ability to take quarterbacks to the next level. 

Sean McVay obviously deserves the lion's share of the credit for Jared Goff's improvement this season, but LaFleur has a track record of helping young QBs: he worked with Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins earlier in the careers in Washington (he was the team's QB coach under the Shanahans). He helped Notre Dame's Everett Golson take a step forward in 2014, then coached quarterbacks under OC Kyle Shanahan for the Falcons in 2015 and 2016. And now he's helped Goff as well. 

The next coach the Colts hire will ideally be the coach for the rest of Luck's career, assuming he can physically make it back onto the field, and the best way to push him forward to future success is to get someone that knows how to work with star-caliber QBs. 

Dallas Cowboys: Seahawks DC Kris Richard

Jerry Jones has stated that he sees no reason to move on from Jason Garrett, but Jerry has gone back on his word with regards to coach firings before. (Remember when he said he'd never change coaches in-season and then canned Wade Phillips a few weeks later?) 

Several Dallas players have complained lately about the team's predictable offensive play-calling, but the bigger issue in Dallas for years has been its lackluster defense. Enter Richard, who has worked his way up the food chain in Seattle over the last several seasons. Richard starter off as an assistant DB coach (2010), progressed to cornerbacks coach (2011) and then defensive backs coach (2012 to 2014), and has served the last three years as the team's defensive coordinator. 

The Cowboys changed almost their entire secondary last offseason, bringing on Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Xavier Woods to replace the departed Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church, and J.J. Wilcox. Along with Byron Jones, Jeff Heath, and Anthony Brown, the Cowboys have a ton of youth in the secondary, and Richard would be a good candidate to figure out how to harness their talents in the correct ways. 

Dallas has enough offensive talent on hand to lure a top offensive mind for the coordinator job, and as long as they add some speed and explosiveness to Dak Prescott's core of weapons, they should be able to bounce back on that side of the ball next year. 

New York Giants: Panthers DC Steve Wilks

The Giants already hired former Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman as their new GM, and it would not be a surprise if he brought along his former team's defensive coordinator -- just like Bills GM Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott both landed in Buffalo last offseason. 

Wilks has dialed up the aggression for a Carolina defense that had previously been quite conservative under coach Ron Rivera, and the team has adjusted well to that. The Giants have a bunch of talented defensive players, and we saw in 2016 just how high the ceiling is for that group. Wilks' coaching style fits well with players like Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, and Landon Collins, all of whom are foundational players for the G-Men defensively. 

The offense needs a ton of work to get to the point where it's playoff-quality, but if the team can play up its strengths while putting together a crew strong enough to do that, it could offset some of those weaknesses. 

New York Jets: Chiefs ST coordinator Dave Toub

Toub has been the NFL's best special teams coordinator for something like 15 years. While that's not necessarily the role that would jump out at you when considering head coaching candidates, remember that John Harbaugh and Bill Belichick were both special teams coordinators at one point during their careers. 

The Jets have incredibly hired seven straight coaches that had defense as their primary focus before being elevated to the top job, so a special teams coach would be a nice change of pace for them without doing something radical like jumping to -- GASP! -- an offensive coach. What the Jets really need, anyway, is someone to impose some order and discipline, and that's what special teams coaches have to do. Everyone has to execute their job exactly to the letter in order to cover kicks and create big returns, and those have been Toub's specialties over the years. He'd be a great fit. 

Detroit Lions: Patriots DC Matt Patricia

Here's yet another pairing of an executive and a coordinator with whom he's familiar from a previous job. Lions GM Bob Quinn worked for the Patriots from 2000 through 2015 before leaving for the top job in Detroit. He's undoubtedly familiar with the way Patricia progressed from offensive assistant to tight ends coach to linebackers coach to safeties coach and finally to defensive coordinator, the role he's held since 2012. 

The Lions have a whole bunch of offensive talent on-hand and should be able to be competent or better on that side of the ball no matter who is calling the plays. It's on defense where they need help. Since losing Ndamukong Suh back in 2015, the Lions have placed 16th, 32nd, and 21st in defensive DVOA. Patricia has experience coordinating a defense that doesn't have the best pass rush (see: 2017 Patriots), and his previous work with linebackers and safeties could be a boon for young players like Jarrad Davis and Quandre Diggs

Oakland Raiders: Vikings DC George Edwards

It would be a bit of a surprise if the Raiders cut ties with Jack Del Rio just a year after their surprising playoff run, but the team's harsh regression this season makes it entirely plausible. The Raiders are another team with a bunch of offensive talent, and while the team's step backward on that side of the ball this year screams out for an offensive mind that can take Derek Carr to the next level, the Raiders are also Cowboys-like in that their defense is a far bigger issue. 

Edwards has done excellent work helping mold a Vikings defense stocked with young talent into one of the top units in the NFL. The Raiders have a whole lot of young defensive talent that they drafted over the last few seasons, but they haven't been able to get it to coalesce into a cohesive hole. Edwards can unleash Khalil Mack in the same way he helped Everson Griffen. He can push Karl Joseph forward like he did Harrison Smith. He can work with Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu like he did Xavier Rhodes and Andrew Sendejo

That sounds like a perfect fit. 

Houston Texans: Patriots OC Josh McDaniels

I'm giving myself heart palpitations picturing McDaniels calling plays for wunderkind quarterback Deshaun Watson. It almost wouldn't be fair to other teams in the AFC South. 

It's long past time McDaniels got another shot at being a head coach after things went so sour in Denver. He's proven during his time back in New England that he's one of the top offensive minds in the league, but we've also seen that he needs a quarterback with prodigious talent in order to make all the complicated pieces of his offense work correctly. Watson is as special a talent as there is in football, and the mind runs wild thinking about the kind of things McDaniels could do to help a player with Watson's skill set -- especially when he has DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller to throw the ball to. 

McDaniels would also benefit from having so much built-in defensive talent with J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus, and more. The Texans will probably never fire Rick Smith, so McD wouldn't be able to bring New England's Nick Caserio with him to this job, but the fit is too enticing not to put him here. 

Tennessee Titans: Lions OC Jim Bob Cooter

Much as we gave Jameis Winston a QB tutor, we're doing the same for Marcus Mariota

Have you noticed how Jim Bob Cooter opened things up for Matthew Stafford and helped take the QB to new heights over the last several seasons by having him focus on getting the ball out of his hands and into the arms of playmakers quickly? Now picture him doing the same for Mariota, who has been strangled by the "exotic smashmouth" offense the Titans insist on running that plays to his weaknesses instead of his strengths. 

Get Cooter in there, take advantage of Mariota's mobility, experience working in wide-open systems, and the speed the team has on the outside with Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews. Get Derrick Henry moving downhill in less crowded boxes. Put that offensive line to work mauling defenders up front and make them protect the passer for lesser amounts of time.