The 2023 NFL coaching cycle will begin in earnest in the coming days. It is assumed that it will play out much differently than last year. After a record 10 head coaching vacancies last offseason, there could be only a few vacancies this winter.
“With so much carnage over the last few years, I think we’re only talking about six teams this year,” FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer said.
Three teams – the Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos – are already empty-nesters. Glazer said the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans and Los Angeles Rams could also be looking for coaches in the near future.
The most surprising, of course, is Los Angeles, where 36-year-old coach Sean McVay is considering leaving just a year after winning the Super Bowl.
“The question mark is whether he’ll come back,” Glazer said. “I don’t think it will take him long to make up his mind. The people inside the building, you talk to them, would be more surprised if he came back than if he left.”
Glazer said Arizona and Houston could be parting ways with not only their head coaches, but their general managers as well.
“Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury, it wouldn’t surprise me if they both left,” Glazer said. “Lovie Smith and Nick Caserio, one or both of them will be gone after this year.”
Smith would go out with a bang, after leading the Texans to a last-second Hail Mary victory and a two-point conversion in Week 18 against the Colts that knocked Houston out of the No. 1 spot in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Colts secured a top-five spot after that they lost their seventh straight game under interim coach Jeff on Saturday. Glazer said Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks will also speak with his teams on Saturday.
Denver, which fired first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett after 15 games in December, has already begun the search. Fox studio analyst and former Saints coach Sean Payton confirmed Sunday that he has spoken with the Broncos, although he cannot officially interview with either club until Jan. 17.
Here are other potential coach developments, courtesy of Glazer:
- The Broncos plan to interview Payton, Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh and Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
- Harbaugh, who recently said he expects to ultimately stay at Michigan in 2023 but has made no promises, will also be a candidate for the Colts’ vacancy.
- The Panthers plan to interview former NFL coaches Jim Caldwell and Frank Reich, who was fired by the Colts in October.
- The Rams have a potential successor in their building. “If Sean McVay steps away, I think [defensive coordinator] Raheem Morris will be a household name among the Rams,” Glazer said.
- Among the league’s active assistants expected to interview for HC vacancies this offseason: Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and running backs coach Brian Johnson, Detroit Lions OC Ben Johnson, San Francisco 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans, for who Glazer said could be the Texans’ top candidates, and Broncos DC Ejiro Evero, who will reportedly interview with Denver this week.
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