Top Five NFL Coaching Candidates


It’s week 17, and that means “Black Monday” is around the corner. There are three openings already available with the Carolina Panthers, Washington Redskins, and reportedly Jacksonville Jaguars. The coaching hot seats have been discussed extensively this season. However, those teams will need new leaders. Let’s take a look at the top NFL coaching candidates this offseason (in no particular order).

Top Five NFL Coaching Candidates

Mike McCarthy

McCarthy has the most experience as a head coach on this list. He is an offensive mind whose specialty is quarterbacks. Even though he was run out of Green Bay, a change was in the best interest of all parties. McCarthy has been out of football for the past season, and these breaks often help to rejuvenate the mind.

The Panthers have reportedly interviewed McCarthy for their opening. While this may or may not be the final destination, he will garner plenty of interest.

Resumé: 13 years as head coach; Super Bowl champion; overall record 125-77-2.

Good Fits: New York Jets, New York Giants, Cleveland Browns.

Mike McCarthy is one of the top five NFL coaching candidates this season
Mike McCarthy, Photo Credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinal/USA TODAY

Ron Rivera

Rivera is a leader of men…period. He didn’t always have the best talent on the field during his tenure in Carolina, but players will run through a wall for him. Everyone who knows Rivera says he’s even a better human.

However, like McCarthy, a change was necessary for both sides. The Panthers have new ownership and a big decision to make regarding Cam Newton. The bottom line is a rebuild is on the horizon in Carolina. Rivera will have his pick of the litter with the Redskins reportedly having keen interest.
Resumé: Nine years as a head coach; Two-time AP Coach of the Year; NFC championship; 76-63-1 overall record.

Good Fits: Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys.

Lincoln Riley

Yes, Riley is a candidate for a few teams. Whether or not he will make the leap to the pros is the key.

Riley is successful at Oklahoma and produced back to back Heisman quarterbacks. His only downfall is the losing record in bowl games. Nevertheless, NFL teams are moving toward young quarterback whisperers. Riley fits the bill. Keep an eye on the team looking to draft Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts as they may make a strong run for Riley’s services a la Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona.

Resumé: Produced two consecutive Heisman quarterbacks; Big 12 Coach of the Year; three-time Big 12 conference champion; 36-5 overall record.

Good Fits: New York Jets, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys.

Lincoln Riley is a top NFL coaching candidate
Lincoln Riley, Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj USA TODAY Sports

Greg Roman

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. What Roman has been able to do with Lamar Jackson is remarkable. So-called “experts” are eating crow because Jackson is the front runner for the MVP award. That is largely due to Roman adjusting the offensive scheme around Jackson’s natural abilities.

Even though Roman says he isn’t thinking about other teams’ interest, multiple teams will reportedly seek an interview. He may be a dark horse in a crowded race, but teams will pick his brain if nothing else.

Resumé: NFC champion as offensive coordinator; produced MVP quarterback.

Good Fits: Washington Redskins, New York Jets.

Greg Roman is on the list of NFL coaching candidates
Greg Roman, Photo Credit: Baltimore Ravens

Matt Rhule

This is a long shot given his demands versus accomplishments, but teams’ genuine interest is present. Rhule turned both Temple and Baylor’s football programs around and has NFL experience, which is why he is on the coaching radar.

Money talks and it may be enough for Rhule to compromise his total control request. However, with the Giants possibly cleaning house, Rhule may get the opportunity he wants.

Resumé: American Athletic Conference champion; 47-42 overall record.

Good Fits: Washington Redskins, New York Giants.

New Eras

The pool of NFL coaching candidates will be large just as it is every season. Names like Raheem Morris, Eric Bienemy, Marvin Lewis, and Urban Meyer are on the list of multiple teams.

In conclusion, Black Monday kicks off the offseason for a lot of struggling teams.

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