A division-by-division look at ‘Black Monday’ possibilities

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

For most of us, Monday will be Dec. 31, New Year's Eve. In the NFL, it will be "Black Monday," a day when many NFL head coaches and general managers will learn that their services are no longer required by their current employer. Below is a division-by-division look at which coaches and general managers are expected to be let go Monday or at some point this week.

AFC East

According to Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News, there could be a total housecleaning of the Buffalo Bills as head coach Chan Gailey and GM Buddy Nix may be dismissed by owner Ralph Wilson. Under Gailey, the Bills are just 16-32 after Sunday's victory against the New York Jets in the regular-season finale. The Bills have not made the playoffs since 1999.

Speaking of the Jets, GM Mike Tannebaum could be replaced (or demoted) by owner Woody Johnson after a second straight season where the organization has more closely resembled a circus than a playoff team. As for the Jets' coaching staff, head coach Rex Ryan has two years remaining on his contract and appears safe, but offensive coordinator Tony Sparano is not expected back in 2013.

[More NFL: Five NFL coaches most likely to be fired]

AFC North

Tennessee businessman Jimmy Haslam purchased the Cleveland Browns in 2012 and replaced president Mike Holmgren with former Eagles executive Joe Banner, who has long been expected to install his own own people in the Browns' front office and on the sideline. That means that GM Tom Heckert and head coach Pat Shurmur will be dismissed on Monday and both are expected to be hot commodities on the front office and coaching job markets in January.

AFC South

The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to part ways with GM Gene Smith and ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that two directors of player personnel from the NFC West could fill that vacancy. According to Schefter, Jason Licht of the Arizona Cardinals and Tom Gamble of the San Francisco 49ers could land in Jacksonville. A change in GMs could mean a change at head coach with Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, who worked with Licht with the New England Patriots, or 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman as potential candidates for Mike Mularkey's job.

[Also: Roddy White in limbo again]

AFC West

As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune reported earlier this month, the San Diego Chargers will part ways with GM A.J. Smith and head coach Norv Turner after the season. Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Kansas City Chiefs are expected to retain GM Scott Pioli, but will make significant changes, including firing head coach Romeo Crennel. Current Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz is a possibility to replace Crennel.

The Oakland Raiders are never afraid to make major changes, but are expected to give GM Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen another season.

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid will be fired on Monday, ending his 14-year tenure with the franchise. Reid plans to coach in 2013, though, and is reportedly assembling a coaching staff, which most head coaching candidates do before embarking on the interview process.

NFC North

Depending on whether or not they make the playoffs, Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith could be replaced this week. The Bears swapped GMs last offseason, replacing Jerry Angelo with Phil Emery, who kept Smith on for the 2012 season. Smith has only one season remaining on his current contract and few head coaches are allowed to reach lame duck status.

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is signed through 2015, but ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that ownership has discussed making a change after the season. Schwartz inherited a dumpster fire and got the Lions to the playoffs in 2011, but a rash of off-field incidents, disciplinary issues with young players (Titus Young), and a season-ending, eight-game losing streak could result in Schwartz having the free time to follow Kid Rock's concert tour in the offseason.

[Also: J.J. Watt lines up against kids from Newtown]

NFC South

The Carolina Panthers have already fired their general manager, dismissing Marty Hurney in October. The Panthers ended the season on a four-game winning streak, and won five of their last six, a red-hot finish that could save Ron Rivera's job. Whether or not Rivera gets a third season in Charlotte could hinge upon Hurney's replacement.

NFC West

After swinging and missing on multiple quarterbacks to replace Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals GM Rod Graves could be let go after the season. The Cardinals have multiple in-house candidates, including vice president of player personnel Steve Keim, who has interviewed for GM vacancies in the recent offseason and could again in 2013. Another candidate would be the aforementioned Licht, who arrived in the desert with fellow former Patriots staffers Matt Caracciolo and Sean Castle, a duo that replaced Justin Casey, a longtime aide to Graves whose firing set off alarm bells of a possible rift within the organization's power structure.

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