Only one team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, has put in requests to begin interviewing head coaching candidates under the NFL's new hiring rules, but about a half dozen teams are likely to be looking for new coaches early this year.
The Jaguars and Raiders have interim coaches in place, and, as previously reported, Raiders owner Mark Davis was not eager to get a jump on other teams or utilize the virtual interview window as he continued to hope his team could reach the postseason, which is still possible, though it would require some help. The Vikings, Broncos and Bears have also had internal discussions about their head coaching situations and are preparing to conduct a search at the end of the season, league sources said.
While a final decision has not been made, coaches on all three staffs are bracing as if they might be elsewhere next season, and it would not be surprising to many within those teams if they make a change. Within those organizations, background work on potential candidates and what attributes would be most attractive to ownership/management have begun, and all three of these teams harbored playoff expectations entering the season. By the end of play in Week 17 that could be expunged for all of them, and any chance that the Bears avoided a coaching search basically expired weeks ago.
That franchise has never fired a head coach in season and, despite the public chorus to move on from Matt Nagy, they are not inclined to make that move now, either. However, discussions about a new head coach have been going on there since November, and the real question within that organization, league sources said, is not whether Nagy goes, but how sweeping the changes are.
General manager Ryan Pace could still survive the overhaul there, with him and team president Ted Phillips aligned, sources said. However, the McCaskey family is also considering making major changes to their hierarchy, sources said, that could potentially include someone else overseeing football operations and/or serving in that team president role. There are numerous opposing factions within that organization with change on the horizon, and various scenarios for the family to consider as they try to put together a contending team again.
Giants owner John Mara continues to make it clear he believes in coach Joe Judge, despite his many foibles and a sense among others in that organization that the team should at least allow an outside consultant to make recommendations about who should stay or who should go, league sources said. Mara has final say, and at this point the Giants are likely to be conducting a general manager search only. The Seahawks are also at a crossroads, with Russell Wilson's future in the organization a front-burner issue -- he is not interested in a contract extension with two years left on his pact with the rebuilding club -- and acting owner Jody Allen is facing her greatest test since assuming the reigns of the team after her brother, Paul, passed.
If the Seahawks do embrace recouping massive draft capital for Wilson, then retaining Pete Carroll, 70, might not make sense, though he would be owed a substantial sum of money having recently engaged in a contract extension with the team.