NFL head-coaching carousel: Tracking firings, hirings and candidates
What’s next in the NFL coaching carousel? Here’s everything you need to know about all the movement through hiring-and-firing season, along with candidates for each open job.
The Jets are expected to hire Adam Gase as their new coach, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington. The Jets reached out to Gase soon after he was fired by the Dolphins on Dec. 31. He was only 23-25 in three seasons, but he dominated the Jets, winning five of six meetings. Gase becomes their first head coach since Bill Parcells (1997) with NFL head-coaching experience.
Adam Gase is a double-edged hire by the Jets. The optics are bad because he’s a castoff from a division rival. It’s hard to get excited about a 23-25 record. On the other hand, he’s an offensive mind with head-coaching experience. He knows quarterbacks, although he hasn’t really developed one. I don’t love the hire, I don’t hate it. I think they would’ve been better off with Mike McCarthy. If Gase doesn’t recapture his 2016 magic, the Jets are in big trouble.
The Browns will hire Freddie Kitchens as their next coach Wednesday, sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Kitchens earned the job with his work as interim offensive coordinator the final eight games of the 2018 season. That and his relationship with and development of Baker Mayfield were keys to his promotion. The Browns did not want to lose Kitchens, so during the interview process they denied him permission to talk to other teams about offensive coordinator openings.
The Broncos have reached an agreement with Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to become the team’s next coach, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Dan Graziano. Fangio will receive a four-year contract that includes a team option for a fifth year, a source said. The 60-year-old Fangio interviewed for the Bears’ head-coaching job last offseason.
Josh Weinfuss breaks down the Cardinals’ decision to hire Kliff Kingsbury as head coach.
The Buccaneers are hiring Bruce Arians as their next coach. Arians, who retired following the 2017 season coaching the Cardinals, has spent the 2018 NFL season working as a game analyst for CBS. In Tampa Bay, he will reunite with Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht, who served as the Cardinals’ vice president of player personnel in 2013, and quarterback Jameis Winston, who attended Arians’ football camps as a youth in Birmingham, Alabama.
The biggest draw, aside from his résumé, for the Bucs in hiring Bruce Arians is his close relationships with general manager Jason Licht and quarterback Jameis Winston. Licht, who worked in Arizona, shares in Arians’ “no risk it, no biscuit” philosophy and Winston knows Arians from youth football camps. The former Cardinals head coach inherits a challenging situation in Tampa Bay. The Bucs have had double-digit losing seasons seven out of the past 10 years, have gone through four head coaches since firing Jon Gruden after the 2008 season and have the NFL’s second-longest playoff drought at 11 straight seasons.
The Cardinals are hiring former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury to be their next coach. The 39-year-old Kingsbury will replace Steve Wilks, who was fired on Dec. 31 after one season in Arizona, during which he went 3-13. Kingsbury was fired by Texas Tech on Nov. 25 after seven seasons, including six as head coach, and was hired by USC to be its offensive coordinator on Dec. 5. The Cardinals will have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
John Fox and Tedy Bruschi praise Denver’s hiring of Vic Fangio as head coach, and Bruschi adds that the defense should be most “excited.”
The Packers are hiring Matt LaFleur as their next coach. LaFleur spent last season as the Titans’ offensive coordinator and previously worked under Sean McVay for the Rams and Kyle Shanahan for the Falcons. Both McVay and Shanahan are considered offensive innovators, and the Packers want their next coach to get Aaron Rodgers back to an MVP level.
With Mike Pettine agreeing to remain on as Packers’ defensive coordinator, expect defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery to stay on. Pettine loved his work with Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels and the rest of the group. Also should be opportunities for Joe Whitt, Patrick Graham, Jason Simmons and Scott McCurley to remain on board. Titles and positions, however, could change.
The Bengals are hiring former Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor as their next head coach. Taylor, 35, was the offensive coordinator for the University of Cincinnati in 2016, and was also an assistant coach for the Rams the past two seasons.
The Bengals announced Zac Taylor as their new coach in Monday. “I am happy and fortunate to join the Cincinnati Bengals as head coach,” Taylor said in a news release. “This is a great organization with good people and a rich history, and I am excited to get started. I am looking to add to that history by setting high standards, and holding everyone here accountable to those standards. There is a lot of work to do, and this is Day 1. We’re going to attack every day with enthusiasm to get this team ready to go.”
The Dolphins are expected to announce the hiring of Brian Flores, who finished the 2018 season as linebackers coach of the Super Bowl champion Patriots, as their next head coach. The 37-year-old Flores has worked in the Patriots organization since 2004.