While 16 teams prepare to begin their journey toward the Super Bowl, a handful of others are preparing to give their coaching staffs a makeover.
Others, however, are still on the prowl for a new name to lead them into 2020.
Here's our look at the top 10 candidates to fill some of those head-coaching vacancies, with a few honorable mentions to start:
- Leslie Frazier (Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator)
- Don Martindale (Baltimore Ravens linebackers)
- Marvin Lewis (Arizona State special adviser)
- Mike Pettine (Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator)
- Kris Richard (Dallas Cowboys defensive passing game coordinator)
10. Robert Saleh
Position: San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator
If anyone knows defense, it's Saleh. The fiery assistant has come up under some dominant defensive minds, spending time with Dan Quinn in Seattle (2011-2013) and Gus Bradley in Jacksonville (2014-2016) before taking charge of San Francisco's unit in 2017. He's only ever worked that side of the ball, so he'd need a solid staff around him, but he's also got the kind of explosive personality that players could rally behind.
9. Greg Roman
Position: Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator
Few coordinators have tailored their offenses to their talent as well as Roman in recent years. The former offensive line and tight ends assistant has overseen big years from Colin Kaepernick, Tyrod Taylor and Lamar Jackson, building a reputation as a genius of run-based attacks. It's hard to project how he'd handle a more prototypical quarterback or manage an entire locker room. But he's not lacking in creativity.
8. Josh McDaniels
Position: New England Patriots offensive coordinator
Whenever someone backs out of a commitment like McDaniels did in 2018, retreating from the Colts' head coaching gig despite publicly accepting it, you're going to have questions about leadership. The longtime offensive whiz also struggled in his only other head job with Denver (2009-2010). But he's still got a ton of experience working under the best in the business and is young enough to forge his own legacy.
7. Matt Rhule
Position: Baylor head coach
College coaches are a gamble, and Rhule's head-coaching record prior to 2019 was a measly 36-40. But he's also essentially turned two separate programs into contenders. A respected personality in both Philadelphia and Waco, he led Temple to a pair of division titles, then took Baylor from a 1-11 team to an 11-2 Sugar Bowl challenger in two years. He'd be a spirited addition for a team looking to kick off a rebuild.
6. Lincoln Riley
Position: Oklahoma head coach
While we're on college coaches, NFL teams probably shouldn't be eyeing anyone harder than Riley. A former quarterback himself, he's been nothing but incredibly consistent at the helm of the Sooners staff, compiling three straight 12-2 seasons to start his head coaching career. An adjustment to the pros would still be cause for pause, but if anyone's proven they're capable of managing a team, it's the former Bob Stoops disciple.
5. Kevin Stefanski
Position: Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator
Maybe the most underrated name on the list, Stefanski has the prototypical makeup of a future head coach. He's still young and has been Minnesota's OC for less than two full seasons, but he helped correct John DeFilippo's inability to get the most out of Kirk Cousins in a hurry. Not only that, but he's been unusually loyal on the come-up, first joining the Vikings as an assistant to the head coach in 2006. He also comes from a team-management family; his father, Ed, is a former NBA executive.
4. Dave Toub
Position: Kansas City Chiefs assistant head coach/special teams coordinator
He's either tried to steer clear of top jobs or simply been overlooked for them, but Toub still stands out as one of the most qualified candidates. His specialty is special teams, which means he'd need a strong supporting cast, but he's one of the most trusted veterans of Andy Reid's staff. In every one of his jobs with the Eagles (2001-2003), Bears (2004-2012) and Chiefs (2013-present), he's been heralded for his steady leadership.
3. Mike McCarthy
Position: Former Green Bay Packers head coach
People love to rail against McCarthy for how he "wasted" Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, only once advancing to the Super Bowl in a 13-year tenure atop the Packers staff. But you don't just stumble upon offensive minds who can lead nine different trips to the playoffs. McCarthy spent all of 2019 preparing for his return to the NFL, and he's smart enough to adapt to his next job. His experience simply cannot be ignored and his development of Rodgers -- specifically from a footwork standpoint -- also can't be ignored.
2. Matt Eberflus
Position: Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator
A longtime Toledo and Missouri assistant before coming to the NFL, Eberflus spent seven years coaching the Cowboys linebackers ahead of his first pro coordinator gig in Indy. With the Colts, however, he's gone big-time, with the front office crediting him not only for keeping the defense afloat but significantly elevating the team's culture in the wake of McDaniels' 2018 exit. Energetic and disciplined, he's Frank Reich's most well-rounded companion.
1. Eric Bieniemy
Position: Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator
A former NFL running back, he should easily be among the most tantalizing options on the market. After overseeing the start of Adrian Peterson's career as the Vikings' RBs coach (2006-2010), Bieniemy spent two years with Colorado and then coached up Jamaal Charles as K.C.'s RBs coach (2013-2017), before helping guide Reid's Chiefs to a record offensive output alongside MVP Patrick Mahomes in 2018, his first as the offensive coordinator. Like Doug Pederson, his experience as a game-planner under Reid should make him attractive -- and another fine addition to the growing Reid coaching tree.