A dream job in Detroit, Manning makes Giants tougher sell - Ranking the NFL coaching openings
With six NFL coaching jobs now available after Black Monday, we rank them in order of which post will be the most attractive to candidates.
Black Monday did not quite create as many openings as some may have anticipated, with only five coaches starting the new year no longer in a job.
John Fox, Jim Caldwell, Chuck Pagano and Jack Del Rio joined former New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo in unemployment as the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts and Oakland Raiders opted to start fresh.
Bruce Arians called it a career as the Arizona Cardinals coach retired and, with six jobs now available, we rank them in order of which will be the most attractive.
1. Detroit Lions
There has been little exciting about the Lions for some time, but they have the pieces to be a serious contender. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is tied to a contract he signed this past off-season and the receiving core has talent in the form of Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay. There is work to be done on defense after a down year in that regard and pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah is due to be a free agent, but they do have one of the better corners in the league in Darius Slay. The ground game is the big concern in Detroit, but the 2018 draft is one rich in running backs and general manager Bob Quinn is highly regarded after his time with the New England Patriots.
2. Indianapolis Colts
The defense has long been awful and the offensive line continues to struggle, but the Colts have one huge thing going for them, quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck is unquestionably one of the best signal-callers in the NFL but did not play in 2017 after shoulder surgery. The long-term health of said shoulder is a concern, but if Luck gets back to his best then the Colts' new coach could have quick success even in an increasingly difficult AFC South.
3. New York Giants
The biggest media market in the country, stacks of talent in the pass-catching department and on defense, a respected GM in David Gettleman and an organisation with a history of patience, there's a lot to like about the Giants. However, Gettleman - for now at least - appears intent on having success with Eli Manning at quarterback. That ship sailed in 2017 as Manning declined and the Giants seemingly sticking with him makes what would be the top job on the market slightly less attractive.
4. Oakland Raiders
Jon Gruden looks poised for a second stint with the Raiders, but at this point it's a reclamation job after a poor season for quarterback Derek Carr and receiver Amari Cooper. The defense is a long way from great and there is also the small matter of a move to Las Vegas in the coming years. That is a lot for Gruden, out of the league since 2008, to have to deal with.
5. Arizona Cardinals
It was a testament to the now retired Arians that the Cardinals somehow got to seven wins this year given their injuries. Quarterback Carson Palmer has been battered behind a bad offensive line and may not have much left in the tank. Future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will stick around for one more year but the most attractive aspects of this job are star running back David Johnson, lost to injury in the first game of 2017, and defensive studs Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson.
6. Chicago Bears
Rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky did not have much chance for success under Fox and needs an astute offensive mind in order to prosper. Running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen are special talents and the defense is decent, but there is a woeful lack of options at receiver. The Bears also play in a hellish division in the NFC North and with Fox may go widely respected defensive coordinator Vic Fangio - replacing him would be a huge task for the coach that takes on the next stage of this rebuild.