NFL open head training job rankings, from best (Jaguar) to worst (Giant)
From sideline to jobless line, NFL head coaches have a tough job.
There are only 32 head coaching jobs in the NFL, so people can’t be too picky about situations. While the 2021 job openings may offer some interesting jobs, the trash pick in 2022 isn’t ideal.
There are currently six jobs available, with a seventh job yet to come (if the Raiders move on from Rich Bisaccia) or potentially an eighth job, depending on what happens with David Culley in Houston.
So, of the half-dozen openings in the NFL right now, here’s what you want, from least to most:
- The New York Giant
General manager: N/A
Projected boundary space: (~$3 million)
2022 NFL Draft Picks: Nine
This is probably the worst state the Giants franchise has been in in some time.
They have plenty of draft options to get off to a new era right, but their cap situation is not ideal, offense is broken and defense is expensive and just above average.
With the retirement of Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge both getting the Big Blue boots, the Giants had to take a long look at their organization and hit the reset button, something they hadn’t done in a long time.
There are so many questions for the next GM to answer:
What will they do with Daniel Jones? What will happen to Saquon Barkley? How long will this rebuild take?
The giants have two top 10 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, so whoever takes a seat in the GM office will get their job done, in what will—and should—be Year 1 of the rebuild total.
Jones’ questions are the most pressing: While Jones has emerged and is showing signs of being a good quarterback, his injuries and turnover problems during his three seasons in the league don’t paint a very promising picture moving forward. Any incoming GM would be smart to look at the cross-town rival Jets and Sam Darnold’s situation for inspiration.
Jet? Give an example?
That’s the state of New York football, folks.
- Minnesota Vikings
General manager: N/A
Projected boundary space: (~$14 million)
2022 NFL Draft Picks: Eight
Vikings isn’t always a quick or easy fix. For that matter, the opening might be the worst, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad job.
Kirk Cousins and the Vikings could be a win-now team with a win-now coach in 2022, but after that, there could be a full rebuild on the horizon. It started with the Vikings hat situation: Minnesota has been living in space cap hell for the better part of the last five years. With Rick Spielman out, the next GM will figure out the Viking hat situation, something easier said than done, even with the big deals in the books.
At the top of that list is quarterback Kirk Cousins: Cousins, who will be in the final year of a two-year, fully guaranteed $66 million extension. Cousins is poised to earn $35 million next season, which includes a $10 million signing bonus. There is no real way to avoid paying him big money. They will be one of the more interesting teams to watch outside of this season, and the new head coach (and GM) will be busy.
The new coach will have the chance to propel the Vikings into the playoffs for another year before they need to think about the future, making the situation difficult for a potentially unproven commodity.
- Miami Dolphins
General manager: Chris Grier
Projected limit space: ~$75 million
2022 NFL Draft Picks: Seven
The dolphin that surprisingly moved from Brian Flores opened up quite an interesting position on South Beach.
The cupboard isn’t completely empty: Jaylen Waddle proved to be a standout wide receiver in Year 1 and Tua Tagovailoa seemed to earn the trust of owners and GMs in Year 2. While owner Stephen Ross has been candid about his desire to steer clear of Deshaun Watson, is it Watson at end of the tunnel or Old, Miami’s new head coach doesn’t have to worry about passers-by.
Instead, the next head coach will have to figure out Miami’s remaining fouls and build on a promising 8-1 finish that Brian Flores will have to cover in the 2021-22 season. Those are difficult shoes to fill.
- Denver Broncos
General manager: George Paton
Projected limit space: ~$48 million
2022 NFL Draft Picks: Seven
The Broncos are an organization that is ready to go and ready to win today. Well, aside from one minor and minor issue…
… Who plays quarterback?
Vic Fangio was sent off at the end of the regular season, in part for Denver’s performance breaches with both quarterbacks Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater. The Broncos have way, too much offensive talent to be stuck in the bottom third of the league in most major offensive categories.
The Broncos have ample limit room ahead of pending cost cuts in the coming months, putting them in an excellent position to keep their competitive window open. It will be up to Paton and the next head coach to figure out the quarterback spot, something they might tackle in the 2022 NFL Draft.
- Chicago Bear
General manager: N/A
Projected limit space: ~$43 million
2022 NFL Draft Picks: Five
There are several reasons why the Bears’ job is one of the most exciting in the NFL right now.
First: A near total organizational reset. A new general manager choosing his own people instantly lends a good synergy to the building. While they won’t be able to pick their own quarterback (unless something really goes wrong with Justin Fields’ evaluation), the man they have in the building has a lot of potential to make potential candidates drool.
The biggest hurdle at the moment is the lack of a first-round draft pick, which was sent to the Giants in a trade that landed Fields. If Fields turns out to be a real problem—2121 is something of a wash for him, given the circumstances—then losing the first round won’t mean much in the grand scheme of things.
In defence, the Bears have plenty of playmakers and ample cap space to try and attack it beyond this season. They have a job to do to bring talent to a legitimate skill positiont, but they’re not as far as the Matt Nagy era can lead people to believe.
- Jacksonville Jaguar
General manager: Trent Baalke
Projected limit space: ~$72 million
2022 NFL Draft Picks: 10
Jaguar has the best available job two seasons in a row? What world is this?
While owner Shad Khan is usually a patient person when it comes to head coaching, he ripped off Urban Meyer Band-Aid mid-season, starting their search for a new coach.
The next Jaguar rental is crucial for the next five years more than what will happen in Jacksonville: With Trevor Lawrence in place, the new boss must reorganize QB and clear Meyer’s stink from the organization. It’s not an easy task, but at least they’ll have all the assets to do it, either with free agents or with drafts.
The small hurdle the next head coach will have to overcome is that the GM is already in place. Baalke has had a mixed reputation in the league, and being hired after Meyer in 2021 means he may be the choice of an unemployed former coach, still leaving a bit of an odd dysfunction in Jacksonville.