Imagine that you are Sean Payton. Teams usually choose from a pool of candidates. In practice, Payton chooses which team hires him.
Five teams have a head coach vacancy, and four have asked to interview Payton. Which opening is the best? There are a lot of things that go into arranging landing spots.
Let’s include a file Indianapolis Coltsthe only team with a job opening that didn’t ask to speak to Payton, and the best job ranking:
Texas desperately needs to hire a head coach. Whoever is appointed will be the team’s fourth coach in four seasons. The Texans have had two straight one-time coaches, which speaks to the terrible choices the franchise has made. Ownership is a big issue. And for a team with a record of 11-38-1 over the past three seasons, there aren’t many exciting young players on the roster. Bad deals and mediocre drafts continue to hurt the franchise.
Texas has the second pick in this year’s draft, but even that didn’t work out; Houston won the regular season finale and the Chicago Bears earned the first pick as a result. Any team can turn things around with a good head coach and a couple of good draft picks. But until further notice, Houston is the ultimate franchise in the NFL. About the only good thing that can be said about this opening is that the bar to be crossed for success is really low.
Kyler Murray The quarterback might not have been $230 million when he was so healthy. But that’s the contract he got last year, and that was before he tore his ACL late in the season. Murray may not be ready for the start of the season, and for a quarterback who relies so heavily on his mobility, there’s a chance he won’t be the same player when he returns. Take that uncertainty and add it to a few list of excellent players.
The Cardinals don’t have a great history either. They have the longest championship drought in American professional sports, they’ve only won one playoff game since the end of the 2009 season and made the playoffs once since the end of the 2015 season. It’s one of the NFL’s perpetual losing franchises, with an injured and possibly overpaid quarterback And the list needs a lot of work. Not great.
3. Indianapolis Colts
Forget Jeff Saturday’s circus, which made team owner Jim Irsay look like he lost it. The Colts are the team that were favored to win the AFC South title a few months ago. They need a quarterback — they have the fourth pick from the draft, which might solve that problem — but there are plenty of other good players on the roster.
Things have gotten worse for the Colts in the rush this season, Saturday’s temporary lease has made the Colts a laughing stock, and Irsay is as unpredictable as any NFL team owner, but at least there’s hope this isn’t a long-term rebuild.
This job looked really bad when Nathaniel Hackett was fired. Then in the last two games, the team looked better, Russell Wilson He played his best two games of the season and suddenly there was some hope (that’s why we need to ignore the “what good would he do to sack the coach in the middle of the season?”). Now maybe you can sell a new coach because Wilson’s struggles are entirely up to Hackett.
Also, the new ownership group has as much money as any in the NFL, so it can spend lavishly on a new head coach. It’s a franchise that’s also been good for decades, though the post-2015 years have been anemic.
Hackett’s ejection when the Broncos did, giving the team time to finish strong, made this opener look that much better.
Here’s the difference between this job and the Broncos’ job: One franchise has to contend with Patrick Mahomes And Justin Herbert for the next decade, while the other has to deal with… Desmond Reader? Kyle Trask? Who will the Saints find for 2023?
Carolina has a quarterback question, too, but if he can answer that, the department is here to take advantage. The rest of the roster isn’t that bad and they’ve played well for interim coach Steve Wilkes. A new coach can claim the first-year divisional title. Team owner David Tepper will spend what it takes to get this quarterback. He also seems difficult to work with because he’s impulsive and doesn’t seem to understand the NFL’s business very well. However, you would probably prefer to have a very aggressive franchisee rather than a cheap franchisee. There is a clear path to immediate success and depending on how quickly other teams locate the quarterback position, the Panthers may run the division for a few years.