Ranking the Bears among current NFL head coaching openings

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  • Chicago Bears
    Chicago Bears
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Brian Flores
    Brian Flores
    American football coach

The Chicago Bears fired head coach Matt Nagy after four seasons, which currently has the organization searching for their 17th head coach in franchise history.

The Bears have cast a pretty wide net of head coaching candidates, which includes former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. It’s a diverse group ranging from offensive-minded coaches to defensive-minded coaches to candidates with prior head coaching experience.

With seven other teams in search of as head coach, how attractive is Chicago as a destination for a coaching candidate?

Here are our rankings for current NFL head coaching vacancies, and where the Bears stand.

Houston Texans

AP Photo/John Hefti

After parting ways with David Culley after one year, the Texans are the least attractive landing spot for a head coach. Which last offseason would’ve seemed impossible given Deshaun Watson was on the roster. While Watson remains, it seems unlikely he’ll play for Houston again and could be traded this offseason. Which leaves the Texans with quarterback Davis Mills, who has improved, but he’s not Watson. One of the only appealing aspects of Houston is their draft capital, which is likely to be helped by an impending trade for Watson, where they could accumulate multiple first-round picks on top of a top-five pick this season. Outside of draft capital, there’s little to desire about the Texans. Not only are there questions at quarterback, there’s not a whole lot of talent to build around. Not to mention ownership is a mess.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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The Jaguars are an attractive destination for prospective head coaches given former No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Trevor Lawrence. While Lawrence’s rookie season hasn’t gone according to plan, he remains a talent with a high ceiling and will certainly be the reason a coach heads to Jacksonville. But the Jaguars are going to be a tough sell considering the losing culture that’s been in place for the last decade, where there’s been just one winning season. Jacksonville needs a head coach in place who’s going to establish a positive culture, which hopefully helps contribute to a winning culture. Luckily, owner Shahid Khan has proven to be patient, with the exception of Urban Meyer, who dug himself into a hole. The Jaguars are slated to have nearly $69 million in salary cap space, the third-most in the NFL, which gives them plenty of room to operate to build what’s a depleted roster.

New York Giants

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The Giants are always going to be an appealing destination for a head coach given it’s New York, where the idea of turning around a historic Giants franchise could be too good to pass up. But there are plenty of concerns with the organization, as New York is projected to be over the 2022 salary cap with plenty of changes needed to be made by their impending new general manager. This is also a Giants team that’s been in the gutter for the last decade, missing huge postseason nine of the last 10 years, which makes it a hard sell. But there’s some flexibility in the quarterback position, as Daniel Jones has just one year left on his rookie deal and the new head coach wouldn’t be tied to him for the future. There’s also a good core in place on defense to build around. It certainly helps that New York has two top-10 draft picks this season — after the Bears traded their first-round selection to nab Justin Fields last season.

Minnesota Vikings

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Depending on how you look at it, having quarterback Kirk Cousins on the roster can be a pro and a con. While he’s provided stable play at the position, he’s also slated to have a $45 million cap hit in 2022. They could either trade him or sign him to an extension to lessen his cap hit, but it’ll ultimately be up to the Vikings’ new general manager. Minnesota has a slew of talent, especially on offense, but the defense needs some work. Whoever their new head coach is will need to bring someone in to help develop those on the defensive side of the ball. Still, the Vikings job could be appealing for a coaching candidate who’s more eager to be part of a retool than a rebuild, as they have a solid veteran core in place.

Miami Dolphins

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The Dolphins are a shocking addition to this list after firing Brian Flores after three seasons due after internal disagreement between Flores and the organization. Now, a pretty attractive Miami job is on the market. The Dolphins are slated to have $68 million in cap space, the best in the NFL, which could help shore up the roster and add some big names this offseason. But the big question is quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who showed improvement in Year 2 but there are still questions surrounding his status as a franchise quarterback. Given the Dolphins appear committed to Tagovailoa, the expectation is their next head coach would have to feel the same. But Miami has a stacked defense, which was the defining impact from Flores, as well as a stud in wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.

Chicago Bears

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One of the biggest reasons why the Bears are among the most attractive head coaching openings is quarterback Justin Fields. While Fields had a rough rookie season, he has all of the tools to become a star quarterback any head coaching candidate would want to build their team around. Chicago also has a slew of other young talent on their roster, including linebacker Roquan Smith, running back David Montgomery, receiver Darnell Mooney, outside linebacker Trevis Gipson and offensive tackles Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom, among others. The ownership is also faithful, as evidenced by giving GM Ryan Pace seven years, and they’re poised to have around $43 million free with the salary cap. While Pace left the new GM strapped in terms of draft capital, Chicago remains a top destination.

Denver Broncos

AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

Denver is an example of a team that’s ready to retool and compete as soon as 2022. But the biggest obstacle standing in the Broncos’ way of success has been the quarterback position. While Teddy Bridgewater was solid before he went down with a concussion, he’s set to be a free agent and Drew Lock isn’t the answer. Denver needs a new quarterback, and perhaps an appealing head coach could help with a potential trade for someone like Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson. The Broncos have a ton of potential on offense, including receivers Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick, as well as tight end Noah Fant and running back Javonte Williams. There’s also talent on defense with safety Justin Simmons and cornerback Patrick Surtain. Denver is projected to have roughly $48 million in salary cap space, which is also a plus. One of the biggest questions is ownership, as the Bowlen family contemplates selling the team, which could raise questions under new ownership.

Las Vegas Raiders

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The Raiders are the only team on this list that are in the postseason, and there’s a possibility they could retain interim head coach Rich Bisaccia. But on the off chance they choose to go elsewhere, Las Vegas is an attractive destination. The Raiders have a solid quarterback in place with Derek Carr, who’s entering the final year of his five-year, $125 million extension. That means Las Vegas is either going to need to sign him to an extension or part ways after 2022. The Raiders are slated to have roughly $40 million in salary cap space heading into 2022, and it’s an attractive destination. While Las Vegas has some solid veterans in place, there are some questions about depth and a lack of young talent on the roster. It’s going to take some time to develop that so the Raiders can compete in the AFC West.

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