Every year around this time, I run through the various head-coaching opportunities that might come open at the end of the NFL season. Sometimes, these jobs stay filled. Other times, different jobs unexpectedly pop open. Usually, though, we can run through somewhere around seven to eight openings or expected openings toward the end of December.
That's not the case this year. The Jaguars job is available after Urban Meyer was let go earlier this month, and the Raiders have an interim coach after they parted ways with Jon Gruden, but there aren't many other spots looming as clear and obvious opportunities. I was able to get to seven, but even that was a bit of a stretch, with a few likely leaning toward a return from their existing coach. It's possible we see only two or three new head coaches this offseason.
Let's run through openings and rank them in terms of their desirability for a coach with options. Last year's top pick was the Chargers, who had just about everything an incoming coach would want: a desirable location for players and coaches alike, relatively patient ownership, a talented roster and a franchise quarterback on a rookie deal in Justin Herbert. Picking the No. 1 job this year was far more difficult.
It's easier to start with the job that is least desirable heading into 2022, although a recent winning streak might make it harder for this team to move on from its first-year coach: