NFL coach and GM tracker: Jerod Mayo replaces Bill Belichick in New England

New England Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo prior to an NFL football game.

The first NFL head coaching vacancy to be filled was the last one to open: The New England Patriots announced that Jerod Mayo would be promoted from linebackers coach one day after the team announced Bill Belichick was departing "amicably" following 24 seasons and six Super Bowl titles.

Belichick was the eighth head coach to step down either during or shortly after the regular season. Black Monday included firings of the Atlanta Falcons' Arthur Smith and Washington Commanders' Ron Rivera. Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans was fired the next day, and by the end of the week, Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks had parted ways along with Belichick from New England.

Three other head coaches were fired during the season: the Las Vegas Raiders' Josh McDaniels, the Carolina Panthers' Frank Reich and the Chargers' Brandon Staley.

Two general managers, the Chargers' Tom Telesco and the Raiders' Dave Ziegler, were also let go during the season and three more general manager spots became open this week, including in New England because Belichick served dual roles.

Read more: Bill Belichick leaves Patriots after 24 years. Will six-time Super Bowl champ coach again?

Candidates can't be interviewed in person until Jan. 22, but many interviews have been conducted via video conference.


NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Belichick, perhaps the greatest NFL coach of all time, suffered through only his second losing season since 2000 as the Patriots went 4-13. Still, he ranks second in career victories with 333, trailing only Don Shula (347). Expect the 71-year-old to fill one of the current openings.

FILLED: Jerod Mayo, 37, becomes the youngest head coach in the NFL. He was a two-time All-Pro linebacker with the Patriots and was elected a captain in only his second season. Belichick hired him in 2019 to coach linebackers and he was the de facto defensive coordinator. The Patriots wrote into Mayo's contract a year ago that he would succeed Belichick and therefore didn't have to follow the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to conduct in-person interviews with at least two external minority candidates. Mayo becomes New England's first Black non-interim head coach.

CHARGERS: Staley and Telesco were fired in mid-December after the Chargers lost five of six following a 4-4 start to the season. A 63-21 loss to Las Vegas sealed their fate. Staley was 24-24 in two-plus seasons, and won only five of his last 16 games. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has been interviewed for the position along with internal candidates Giff Smith (interim head coach) and Kellen Moore (offensive coordinator). Others who have interviewed include Patrick Graham (Las Vegas defensive coordinator), Todd Monken (Baltimore offensive coordinator), Steve Wilks (San Francisco defensive coordinator), Mike Macdonald (Ravens defensive coordinator) and former Buffalo defensive coordinator and Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier.

Read more: Chargers interview Jim Harbaugh, but more Rooney Rule requirements loom

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: Antonio Pierce went 5-4 as interim coach after the firing of McDaniels and is the overwhelming favorite to land the permanent job, unless Harbaugh, Belichick or Carroll want it. Whoever it is has an appealing roster with All-Pro receiver Davante Adams (103 receptions) and Pro Bowl edge rusher Maxx Crosby (14.5 sacks).

CAROLINA PANTHERS: The Panthers have had six different head coaches in six seasons under owner David Tepper. The latest, Reich, lasted only 11 games before getting fired with a 1-10 record. Four candidates were interviewed over Zoom by Jan. 12: Panthers interim head coach Chris Tabor, Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Monken and Macdonald.

TENNESSEE TITANS: The surprising firing of Vrabel was followed swiftly by Tennessee requesting interviews with several candidates: Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. Macdonald is another candidate and Pierce also would be interviewed if he doesn't get the Raiders' job.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Less than a week after assuring reporters that he'd return, Carroll stepped down after 18 years and one Super Bowl title, saying he'd move into a front office advisory role. That, of course, doesn't preclude him from filling one of the current coaching openings. Names that have surfaced as top candidates include current defensive coordinators Raheem Morris of the Rams, Quinn of the Cowboys and Macdonald of the Ravens. All three appear to be strong candidates for multiple teams.

Read more: Coordinator Raheem Morris says he's focused on helping the Rams, not job vacancies

WASHINGTON COMMANDERS: With Adam Peters on board as the new general manager, owner Josh Harris and his search committee turn their attention to the sidelines, which had become chaotic under Rivera. Candidates could include the Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik, and both Rams coordinators, Morris and Mike LaFleur, who worked alongside Peters with the 49ers. Current 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is another possibility. He led the Panthers to a 6-6 record as interim coach in 2022.

ATLANTA FALCONS: How often can a coach finish 7-10 before he loses his job? For Smith of the Falcons, it was three years in a row. Many of the same assistant coaches associated with other openings are scheduled to interview with the Falcons, including Morris of the Rams, Macdonald of the Ravens, Wilks of the 49ers, Slowik of the Texans, and Glenn and Johnson of the Lions.


CHARGERS: Telesco was hired in 2013 and fired the same day as Staley. His teams finished 84-92 in the regular season and made three playoff appearances, winning two postseason games. Brandon Brown, an assistant GM with the New York Giants, and Ian Cunningham, an assistant GM with the Bears, have been interviewed. The Chargers have also interviewed JoJo Wooden, who ended the season as interim GM.

Read more: Chargers conduct interviews with another candidate for GM and another for head coach

PATRIOTS: Belichick filled this role as well as head coach, so his departure leaves two openings. Internal candidates will be given long looks, including player personnel executives Matt Groh and Patrick Stewart and scouting chiefs Eliot Wolf, Camren Williams and Steve Cargile.

RAIDERS: Las Vegas has made the GM hire the immediate priority, an indication that person will have a say in who will be the next coach. Raiders' interim general manager Champ Kelly is expected to get a hard look, and two external candidates have been interviewed: Cincinnati Bengals senior personnel executive Trey Brown and Denver Broncos executive director of football operations Kelly Kleine Van Calligan.

COMMANDERS: The head of football operations search is down to two current assistant general managers. Adam Peters of the 49ers and Cunningham are the remaining candidates following an initial round of interviews.

FILLED: Peters, who was a walk-on defensive end at UCLA in 2001 and 2002, was named general manager Friday. A veteran of several front offices, Peters won Super Bowls while working in New England and Denver, and has been with the 49ers since 2017. Washington's search committee also had a UCLA tie, with former Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers joining Magic Johnson and billionaire Mitchell Rales as advisors to Harris.

Read more: Commanders hire Bob Myers. Can ex-Warriors GM help Magic Johnson turn franchise around?

PANTHERS: With the Black Monday firing of Scott Fitterer after three years on the job, the Panthers are seeking a general manager as well as a coach. Current executives Dan Morgan and Adrian Wilson are candidates unless ownership wants to clean house. External candidates could include Brown of the Giants, Champ Kelly of the Raiders, Cunningham of the Bears and Andy Weidl of the Steelers.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.