The 2021 NFL regular season came to an end recently, and with it comes a flurry of coach, coordinator, and general manager firings.
We tracked the latest news throughout the week after things kicked off on “Black Monday.”
Here are the openings as of Jan. 14.
NFL teams with open head-coaching positions
- Houston Texans: Fired David Culley on Thursday after a 4-13 season.
- Miami Dolphins: Relieved Brian Flores of his duties after going 9-8. (Analysis: Why would the Dolphins fire Brian Flores? Owner Stephen Ross still doesn’t know what he’s doing)
- New York Giants: Fired Joe Judge Tuesday after a 4-13 finish.
- Denver Broncos: Let coach Vic Fangio go on Sunday after a 7-10 finish.
- Minnesota Vikings: Fired coach Mike Zimmer on Monday after going 8-9.
- Chicago Bears: Dismissed Matt Nagy Monday after finishing 6-11.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Fired coach Urban Meyer in Week 15 after a series of missteps (read more here). Finished the season 3-14 after upsetting the Colts Sunday.
- Las Vegas Raiders: Coach Jon Gruden resigned on Oct. 11 after a report detailed emails Gruden sent that included homophobic, misogynistic, and racist remarks (read more here). They are 10-7 entering the playoffs.
NFL teams with open GM positions
- New York Giants: David Gettleman announced his retirement on Monday.
- Minnesota Vikings: Fired Rick Spielman on Monday.
- Chicago Bears: Fired Ryan Pace on Monday.
NFL teams with open coordinator positions
- Carolina Panthers: They’re searching for an offensive coordinator after firing Joe Brady in December, and a special teams coordinator after firing Chase Blackburn on Tuesday.
- New York Giants: New York fired Jason Garrett in November, after fewer than two seasons with the team.
Jerod Mayo expected to be a leading candidate for Texans
Patriots assistant coach Jerod Mayo will emerge as a leading candidate to be head coach for the Houston Texans, according to ESPN. Having played eight years for the Patriots, as well as three years on the coaching staff, he would certainly be familiar with Houston general manager Nick Caserio, who spent 20 years in New England before he was hired by Houston in January, 2021.
The Texans fired David Culley earlier on Thursday after he went 4-13 in his first year on the job.
Texans fire David Culley
According to NFL Network, the Texans are firing first-year coach David Culley after one season. Houston went 4-13 without Deshaun Watson at quarterback.
Bears request interview with Eliot Wolf
According to ESPN, the Bears have requested permission to interview Eliot Wolf, the Patriots’ director of scouting.
The Bears have an open GM job after firing Ryan Pace earlier this week.
Giants fire Joe Judge
New York has fired head coach Joe Judge, according to multiple reports. That marks two former New England assistants — Judge and Brian Flores — who have been let go in the last day.
Jerod Mayo: I want to be a head coach
Patriots assistant Jerod Mayo confirmed he would take the interview with the Denver Broncos for their head-coaching position.
Bills OC Brian Daboll a top candidate
Bills OC Brian Daboll is set to interview for at least two jobs — the Bears and the Dolphins.
Dolphins just submitted their request to interview Bills OC Brian Daboll for their HC job, per source. Daboll now has requests from the Bears and Dolphins.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 11, 2022
Brian Flores to interview for Bears job
According to NFL Network, Brian Flores will interview for the Bears job.
The Bears will also reportedly interview Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland for their open GM job.
Bears requested permission to interview Saints’ assistant GM Jeff Ireland for their GM job, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 11, 2022
Panthers clean house, fire three assistants
By the Associated Press
The Carolina Panthers on Tuesday fired three assistant coaches, including special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn, offensive line coach Pat Meyer and defensive line coach Frank Okam.
Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said on Monday the team’s primary goal this offseason was to improve its offensive and defensive lines, saying that success “starts up front.”
Carolina’s offensive line struggled all season and quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Cam Newton spent most of the season under heavy duress. The Panthers allowed 52 sacks, fifth most in the NFL and the team finished 5-12 and lost its final seven games.
Panthers coach Matt Rhule said prior to the team’s season finale that the organization needs to make a “true investment” on the offensive line. The Panthers have the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft.
Defensive end Brian Burns made the Pro Bowl, but the Panthers want more production from the defensive line, which led to Okam’s departure. As a whole, Carolina’s defense fared well with 39 sacks in the 2021 season, which ranked 15th in the league and the defense finished No. 2 overall. Okam was on Rhule’s staff at Baylor and had been promoted from assistant defensive line coach last season.
Blackburn was a holdover from previous head coach Ron Rivera’s staff.
The Panthers used four different kickers and three different punters.
Bears interested in Bucs coordinators
According to ESPN, the Bears requested permission to interview both Tampa Bay coordinators; Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles.
Bowles is in his third season as defensive coordinator with the Buccaneers. He has experience as a head coach, leading the Jets to a 10-6 record in his first year with the team in 2015, but followed that up with three straight losing seasons and was fired after the 2018 season.
According to NFL Network, the Bears would also like to interview Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Frazier, who has been in Buffalo since 2017, spent 3.5 seasons as head coach of the Vikings from 2010, when he took over for the fired Brad Childress, until he was fired in 2013 after a 5-10-1 season.
The Bears have also put in a request to interview Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown for their open GM job.
Giants already have four GM interview requests in
New York is reportedly requesting to interview Titans vice president of player personnel Ryan Cowden, Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort, Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles, and Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen.
Broncos want to interview Pats’ Jerod Mayo; see their candidate list
The Denver Broncos have requested permission to interview Patriots linebacker coach Jerod Mayo for their head coach opening, according to multiple reports. Mayo is in his third season on the Patriots coaching staff. A first round pick out of Tennessee in 2008, he played eight seasons with the Patriots and was named one of the captains after just one season.
Denver will also reportedly interview Cowboys defensive coordinator and former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Packers offensive coordinator, and Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
Giants GM David Gettleman announces retirement
Dave Gettleman announced his retirement as senior vice president and general manager of the New York Giants.
“It was a privilege to serve as the general manager of the New York Giants the last four years and to have spent so many years of my career with this franchise,” said Gettleman. “We obviously have not had the on-the-field success I expected, and that is disappointing. However, I have many fond memories here, including two Super Bowl victories, and I wish the team and organization only the best moving forward. There are many good people here who pour their souls into this organization. I am proud to have worked alongside them.”
Gettleman, 70, spents 15 seasons with the Giants from 1998-2012, serving as the team’s pro personnel director for 13 of those seasons before he was named general manager of the Carolina Panthers. He turned to the Giants in 2018.
What’s going on with the Giants?
NFL Network reported that head coach Joe Judge met with players and coaches Monday.
The Giants finished at 4-13, a fifth straight losing season and second under Judge.
CBS Sports is reporting that Judge will be kept on as coach, but that GM Dave Gettleman could possibly retire.
Brian Flores issues statement
In a statement issued to ESPN, Brian Flores said he wanted to thank the Dolphins for the opportunity to coach.
“It was an honor to represent the franchise and lead this group of men,” he said. “I am grateful most of all for the players, coaches and support staff who gave everything they had on a daily basis to help us win games. They deserve the credit for any success on the field, and it was the honor of a lifetime for me to go to work with them every day.”
Brian Flores fired by the Dolphins
In a bit of a surprise move, the Dolphins fired head coach Brian Flores, who was coming off consecutive winning seasons. After going 5-11 in his first year in 2019, the Dolphins posted records of 10-6 and 9-8 in the last two seasons to finish 24-25.
Miami didn’t make the playoffs in any of his three seasons, but did finish this year with eight wins in the final nine games.
“I made a decision today to part ways with Brian Flores,” Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said. “After evaluating where we are as an organization and what we need going forward to improve, I determined that key dynamics of our football organization weren’t functioning at a level I want it to be and felt that this decision was in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins.”
Ross is a Michigan graduate and the largest donor in that university’s history, and the Dolphins could look at Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh as one of the possible candidates to take over.
Flores was hired in February 2019 and immediately began overseeing a rebuild. Miami started 0-7 in his first season, 1-3 last season and 1-7 this season. But it always found ways to get better as the season went along, going 20-8 in games played in November, December and January under Flores.
“The credit goes to the players, coaches,” Flores said after Sunday’s 33-24 win over New England, one that finished off the Dolphins’ first sweep of the Patriots since 2000. “I am always going to feel like and wish I could have done more. And our guys did work hard, from the players and coaches, obviously our support staff. It’s a special group. I’m happy, I’m proud to be a part of it.”
The next morning, he wasn’t a part of it anymore.
The next Miami coach will be the team’s 11th since its most recent playoff victory on Dec. 30, 2000. Dave Wannstedt was the coach that day; the coaches that have followed, in order, were Jim Bates, Nick Saban, Cam Cameron, Tony Sparano, Todd Bowles, Joe Philbin, Dan Campbell, Adam Gase and Flores.
“I believe we have a talented young roster in place and have the opportunity to be much better in 2022,” Ross said.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Bears clean house: Matt Nagy, Ryan Pace out
By the Associated Press
The Chicago Bears fired general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy on Monday, hoping new leadership in the front office and on the sideline will lift a struggling franchise.
Nagy’s fate seemed sealed as the Bears struggled through a 6-11 season that ended with a loss at Minnesota on Sunday. But it was not clear if Pace also would be let go or retained in either his current role or a different capacity.
Whoever the Bears hire will need to develop rookie quarterback Justin Fields and surround the former Ohio State star with more talent to help him grow. They will have to address a defense that has slipped in recent seasons. More than anything, it will be their job to turn around a franchise with just seven playoff appearances in the past 30 years.
The Bears went 48-65 with one winning season and made the postseason twice in the seven years since Pace was hired out of New Orleans’ front office in 2015 to replace Phil Emery. Nagy went 34-31 in four seasons.
The Bears have not won in the postseason since the 2010 team advanced to the NFC championship game.
Pace’s tenure was marred by his inability to settle the quarterback position. He whiffed when he traded up a spot to draft Mitchell Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes with the No. 2 pick in 2017. He also signed Mike Glennon, traded for Nick Foles and paid up for Andy Dalton. And Fields’ future is an ongoing question.
Receiver Kevin White (No. 7 in 2015) and linebacker Leonard Floyd (No. 9, 2016) were either outright busts or simply did not perform the way Chicago hoped.
Nagy led Chicago to a 12-4 record and NFC North championship in 2018 after the Bears hired him off Andy Reid’s staff in Kansas City. But things fizzled after that.
Chairman George McCaskey opted to stick with Pace and Nagy last January after Chicago went 8-8 in the regular season for the second year in a row. He seemed to tie them together at the time when he cited a culture they set that allowed the team to bounce back from a six-game losing streak to make the playoffs — as the seventh and final seed in an expanded field. Chicago lost in convincing fashion at New Orleans, but McCaskey insisted Pace and Nagy were “the best people to lead us in 2021.”
The Bears were never really in contention this season.
They dropped eight of nine games before winning two of the final three. Frustrated fans made their feelings clear, chanting “Fire Nagy! Fire Nagy!”
Vikings fire Mike Zimmer
Mike Zimmer was hired in January 2014 and made the playoffs three times — including a run to the NFC Championship in January, 2018. But after consecutive losing seasons, he was dismissed on Monday along with GM Rick Spielman. He finished his eight-year tenure at 72-56-1, and 2-3 in the postseason.
Candidates for the Jaguars job
The Jacksonville Jaguars have already reportedly interviewed a number of candidates, according to the Florida Times-Union:
- Bucs’ OC Byron Leftwich
- Bucs’ DC Todd Bowles
- Former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson
- Former Colts and Lions coach Jim Caldwell
- Cowboys DC Kellen Moore.
The Jaguars will also interview Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett next week.
“It’s absolutely an honor to be even considered for something like this,” Hackett said earlier this week. “So we’re going to do it during the bye because we wrapped up that No. 1 seed. It’s a dream for any football coach to have an opportunity to potentially become a head coach.”
Steelers GM expected to step down
NFL Network reports that Kevin Colbert is likely to retire from his role as general manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers following this year’s draft.
Colbert has been with the team since 2000, and assumed the role of GM in 2010.
It could be the end of an era in Pittsburgh, with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger possibly calling it quits.
To make the playoffs, the 8-7-1 Steelers need a win over Baltimore on Sunday, plus a Colts’ loss to the Jaguars.
Broncos fire Vic Fangio
The Broncos announced Sunday morning they parted ways with head coach Vic Fangio following a loss in the season finale to the Chiefs on Saturday night.
Fangio, 63, led Denver to a 7-10 finish — its third losing season in a row. It’s the sixth consecutive season the Broncos have missed the playoffs; they haven’t been back since the 2014 season, when Peyton Manning led them to a Super Bowl win.
“For the last three seasons, Vic put his heart and soul into coaching the Broncos,” owner Joe Ellis said. “I want to thank Coach Fangio for giving his maximum effort to our organization since the day he was hired.”
Ellis said GM George Paton will have “full authority” to make the hire.
“This is his decision and his program. I have complete confidence in George’s ability to lead an exhaustive and successful head coaching search.”
Who will the Panthers look to for an offensive coordinator?
ESPN reports that the Panthers will look to two former head coaches — Jay Gruden and Bill O’Brien — as they try to find a replacement for Joe Brady.
Brady was fired on Dec. 5 with the Panthers mired at 5-7. He spent just under two years with the organization, joining in January 2020 after a successful one-year run at LSU that resulted in a national championship.
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