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Worst Open NFL Coaching Jobs

The end of the NFL regular season is here, a hard truth for us all to swallow. The season has finally unfolded before our eyes and its drama has sent shockwaves throughout the league with each win and loss. However, while it is a bittersweet moment for us, the audience, there is a new cycle starting in the league as we speak, the NFL coaching hiring cycle.

The Carolina Panthers were the first to have an open head coaching position for next season and, now that the year is over, other teams have since relieved their coaches of their contracts. Additionally, some general managers will not be returning with their teams as well. Organizations are rebranding themselves before the new league year is upon us in March. That way, new staff can effectively plan for the draft and free agency frenzy that will occur in March and April.

With all this being said, here are the worst open NFL coaching jobs I wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

open nfl coaching jobs
Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Worst Open NFL Coaching Jobs

Arizona Cardinals

Fans could watch the HBO series about them or watch the team play every week, but neither broadcast could capture the drama that unfolded throughout the year. To sum it all up, the organization is in a major rebuild and rebrand phase after its GM and head coach parted ways with the club. Two head honchos gone for the price of none.

The Arizona Cardinals were supposed to be playoff favorites this year, the offense was poised to pick up from last year and the defense was finally supposed to make the big leap. Yet, none of that happened.

Reportedly, Kyler Murray is reportingly going to have a say in who will be the team’s next head coach. To put that into perspective, the player who had a clause in their contract (it was later removed) about mandatory study time, gets to partially control the next hire for the team. In other words, the player who the team needed to legally oblige the time to study their craft gets to control the new direction for the ball club. The fact that he gets to input his thoughts in this decision shows us that the organization isn’t committed to the coaching staff. It’s committed to its problematic quarterback.

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans were competing all year to be the worst in the league… and yet they still lost that race. That pretty much sums up the organization. They were so close to finishing the year in last place and securing the number one overall pick in April… then they won a game. To be fair, former head coach Lovie Smith did have some adequate remarks about that, but he ended up doing the Chicago Bears another favor and gave them the top spot in the draft.

The Texans have now had three head coaches in three different years. The last two have been “one and done” coaches too. If I was an NFL coach, I would not go near this organization under any circumstances. The fact that two head coaches now are gone after their first year, and losing records just shows that the organization is not committed to a coach, no matter the contract. Additionally, you could essentially replace the title from the head coach to head “scapegoat” because that’s what they’ve had for the last two years — someone else to push the blame onto.

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Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers had arguably the most dramatic season this year, regarding personnel shifting, that is. Baker Mayfield started the year as their starter, Christian McCaffery was firmly on the roster, and Matt Rhule was at the helm to bring it all together. Flash forward to the end of the year, and none of those three survived to finish the season in blue and black. Heck, even Josh Norman came back to the team before the season was finished! The whiplash fans went through was unprecedented, even by the NFL’s standards.

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks took over as the interim head coach and is set to interview for the position. However, I would not go near this organization with a 10-foot pole. In fact, I’m a little baffled he would even interview for the position after he ousted the organization for trying to tank. The fact that he would have probably been the scapegoat if the tank was successful clearly shows the organization’s commitment to anybody but the coaching staff.

Dynamics Shifting With Open NFL Coaching Jobs

The dynamics have been shifting for a while, but the change is finally here: it is a player’s league now. And these teams in particular are showing us left and right that they are committed to the talent on the field rather than the talent who’s supposed to utilize them. At the end of the day, the NFL is still a business and the money that these players are getting now is proving that the teams will opt for the player’s preference first.

In essence, there’s a reason these teams will be in the top half of selections in April’s draft. The days of looking at players as pawns on a chessboard are at an end. The coaching staff is now in the direct crosshairs of results. And if I was a coach, I wouldn’t want a job in any of these organizations, at least for the moment.

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