We previously looked at the AFC hot spots, with a preamble regarding the efforts by the NFL to persuade owners to not make changes.
Changes, we know, are coming. Carolina already has a coaching vacancy. Here’s a look at the various hot spots we’re watching in the NFC.
The Cowboys: If Dallas makes another first-round exit from the playoffs, with coaching being a factor in the loss, would Mike McCarthy be in trouble? Owner Jerry Jones doesn’t like to fire coaches with time left on their contracts. But with his last chance at Sean Payton possibly disappearing if Payton takes a job elsewhere, would Jones make a change? It all comes down to when, and how, the current playoff run ends.
The Commanders: Ron Rivera has managed to lead his team to contention through a storm of unprecedented dysfunction originating from ownership. If he’d gotten the team to the playoffs, he would have been a strong candidate for coach of the year. As it stands, he should be the coach in D.C. for at least another year, allowing new ownership to decide whether to stay the course. (All of this assumes he wants to stay; some coaches would be tempted to tap out after the past two years of turmoil.)
The Panthers: David Tepper is looking for a coach. Depending on the coach he hires, there could be a ripple effect for G.M. Scott Fitterer. Time will tell.
The Saints: It’s unlikely that anything will change here, despite a disappointing season. They need a better answer at quarterback. The division could be wide open in 2023.
The Buccaneers: There were questions about the future of coach Todd Bowles, before they clinched the division. Some wonder whether offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich — who had at one point the inside track to the Jaguars’ head-coaching job — will be back next year. The bigger question is whether Tom Brady will look for another team, if he doesn’t retire.
The Falcons: It’s hard to hold the current regime (G.M. Terry Fontenot, coach Arthur Smith) responsible for a couple of non-playoff years. They’ve actually done well with what they have, and with what they don’t. The Julio Jones trade in 2021 and the Matt Ryan trade in 2022 created significant cap consequences, and they still need to find long-term answers at both positions. Owner Arthur Blank would be wise to stay the course.
The Rams: Coach Sean McVay surely regrets not taking Amazon money when he had the chance. Now, he reportedly will take some time to decide whether to return for 2023. Why would he? “Eff them picks” has f–ked up the future for the Rams. Not enough draft selections. Not enough cheap, young, talented players. Too many expensive, aging stars, including a banged-up quarterback who’ll have $57 million in additional pay become fully guaranteed in March. There’s little hope for the kind of quick turnaround that will put the Rams back atop the NFL’s mountain.
The Seahawks: Pete Carroll will be the coach at least through the eventual sale of the team, whenever it will happen. (It won’t happen before May 1, 2024.) Would Carroll retire? He has shown no indication that he plans to shut it down.
The Cardinals: As reported last night, the Saints expect to hear from the Cardinals about Sean Payton. Many expect that coach Kliff Kingsbury will be gone. If he is, owner Michael Bidwill will owe Kingsbury his full pay (minus whatever he makes elsewhere) through 2026. And with G.M. Steve Keim currently on a leave of absence, who would help Bidwill make his next move? It all comes down to how much Bidwill is willing to pay his current coach to go — and how much he’d offer a new coach to take the job.
Which NFC coaching, G.M. jobs may open up in 2023? originally appeared on Pro Football Talk