FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots were the NFL’s best team with a 14-2 record, and now some of their top people are in demand for vacancies across the league.
The Jaguars, Rams, and 49ers have requested permission to interview Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for their head coaching jobs, a league source confirmed to the Globe.
The Rams and Chargers have requested permission to interview defensive coordinator Matt Patricia for their head coaching vacancies, and the 49ers also want to speak with director of player personnel Nick Caserio about their general manager job, per ESPN and other reports.
McDaniels and Patricia declined to offer any insight into their pursuit of head coaching jobs, and Bill Belichick withheld comment, as well. Any interviews will take place this weekend in the New England area.
“I haven’t heard anything,” Patricia said on his weekly media conference call. “I’m just in a normal Monday routine, which is great for me.”
The NFL has specific rules in its anti-tampering policy for how teams are to interview coaches who are still under contract and working in the playoffs. Teams must request permission from the Patriots to interview their candidates (the Patriots are under no obligation to oblige), and all interviews must be done this weekend, by the end of Sunday’s wild-card playoff games. The interviews also must be done “at any location acceptable to the employer club and at a time that is convenient for the employer club.” Per the Sacramento Bee, the 49ers are planning on coming to New England this weekend to interview McDaniels and presumably Caserio.
The three candidates can’t accept a new job until the Patriots are done with the playoffs. If the Patriots make the Super Bowl, all three are allowed follow-up interviews in the week immediately following the AFC Championship game.
McDaniels turned down coaching interviews last year, but according to a league source is ready to become a head coach again. He was the Broncos’ head coach in 2009-10, compiling an 11-17 record. McDaniels rejoined the Patriots for the 2012 playoffs, and has interviewed for head coaching jobs with the Falcons, 49ers, and Browns in recent years.
“I know there’s a process in place and we’ve gone through that before, but at this point I have nothing to add or comment on,” McDaniels said.
Tom Brady called McDaniels “the best in the NFL” on his weekly WEEI appearance and said he would “hate to lose” the coach he speaks with every day.
“I could never be the player that I am without him and without him challenging me every week,” Brady said. “I have so much confidence in him as a coach and his abilities, the way that he leads our offense, he’s spectacular. It would be tough to lose him, we’re certainly not going to lose him in the next two weeks. I hope he doesn’t for my own personal sake, but I could understand all those reasons why these other teams would want him to lead their organization.”
Patricia is not considered as hot a candidate as McDaniels, but he will be attractive for teams seeking a defense-oriented coach. He interviewed for the Browns’ head coaching job last year, and said he won’t let any interviews get in the way of his work with the Patriots.
“That was a great learning experience,” Patricia said of the Browns interview. “The priority is always going to be, above everything else, what this season is about, what we’re about here and trying to win and moving forward from the next game that we have to play.”
Caserio is viewed as the least likely of the three to leave, but he interviewed for the Dolphins’ vacant GM job in the spring of 2014 before returning to the Patriots.