*Some who should know saw the Panthers head coaching job could have been Bill Cowher’s for the taking if he had been interested. But the former Steelers coach was not ready to leave CBS, at least not for that job. As a result the Panthers retained Ron Rivera. Cowher is believed to be waiting for the perfect job.
*Despite the continued links with the Eagles, we continue to hear Jon Gruden is not interested in coaching this year and won’t come down from the booth. In fact, he could have probably had the Bills’ job, but he turned away the team.
*Dirk Koetter very well could have had an NFL head coaching job this go-round (the Browns, Chiefs and Eagles were interested), but he decided his situation in Atlanta was too good to leave at this point, and he went to the Falcons to tell them so. He subsequently was given a nice raise, and now is believed to be among the highest paid offensive assistants in the league with an annual salary of close to $2 million.
*The Cardinals will be hiring a new head coach, but not necessarily a new defensive coordinator. Buzz around the league says management would like to retain Ray Horton as DC. General manager Steve Keim just has to convince his new head coach that Horton is his best option to run the Cardinals D.
*Before 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh decided which quarterback he would target in the 2011 draft class, he took to the road and worked out a number of the top quarterbacks on their respective college campuses. The workouts were one-on-one, intense and highly personal. Harbaugh got an intimate look at each player before the 49ers set their board. What he saw in Colin Kaepernick is a little of what the rest of the league has seen over the last couple months.
*One of the most sought after assistant coaches in the league right now is Juan Castillo. He is being courted by multiple teams. The offensive line coach turned defensive coordinator could be going back to working with offensive linemen, but not necessarily. Two teams are recruiting him as a defensive assistant, and one wants him as a defensive coordinator. As one NFC general manager put it, “He was already considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the league, and now imagine how much better he can be after two years on the defensive side.”
*If Mike McCoy leaves the Broncos, John Fox could bring in an old friend of Peyton Manning’s to run their offense. Word has it the team might be interested in Colts’ quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, who is a free agent.
*With the success John Harbaugh has had in Baltimore, just about every established special teams coach in the league is getting evaluated as a head coaching candidates. Among those in play are Atlanta’s Keith Armstrong, Dallas’ Joe DeCamillis, Minnesota’s Mike Priefer and Chicago’s Dave Toub.