Friday, March 1, 2024

Tracking NFL head coach firings and hirings: Latest on all eight head coach hires, plus coordinator openings

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Eight NFL teams decided to move on from their head coaches either during or after the 2023 NFL regular season. And as of Feb. 1, every opening has been filled.

The Raiders promoted interim head coach Antonio Pierce to a permanent position. The Panthers hired Bucs OC Dave Canales to help develop QB Bryce Young. The Chargers brought Jim Harbaugh back to the NFL. The Titans hired Brian Callahan after five seasons as the Bengals OC. The Patriots promoted Jerod Mayo to head coach after they moved on from Bill Belichick.

The Falcons hired Raheem Morris from the Rams instead of Belichick, who they interviewed twice. The Seahawks hired Baltimore defensive mind Mike Macdonald — the youngest head coach in the league (36). And the Commanders, the last of the teams to hire a coach, went with Cowboys OC Dan Quinn.

Here’s everything you need to know about each NFL head-coach hire. Plus, we have updates on offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator openings.

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New head coaches | Open coordinator positions
Filled coordinator positions

Head-coach jobs that have been filled

Former coach: Ron Rivera (fired Jan. 8)
New coach: Dan Quinn (Feb. 1)

The Commanders are hiring Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as their head coach, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Quinn served as Dallas’ defensive coordinator the past three seasons. The Cowboys ranked a combined fifth in points and seventh in yards. Under Quinn, the Cowboys led the NFL with 93 forced turnovers.

Quinn also compiled a 43-42 record in five-plus seasons as the Falcons head coach. He led the Falcons to the Super Bowl during the 2016 season, when they lost to the Patriots in overtime — after leading 28-3.

New Commanders owner Josh Harris made his first major staffing move since buying the franchise last summer, firing Rivera after four seasons with the team. The Commanders finished the 2023 season 4-13 after a loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the season finale Sunday.


Former coach: Pete Carroll (fired Jan. 10)
New coach: Mike Macdonald (Jan. 31)

The Seahawks hired former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald as their next head coach on Wednesday.

Macdonald is receiving a six-year contract, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Seahawks moved to hire Macdonald after meeting with him for a second time Wednesday, a day after their initial interview in Baltimore.

The 36-year-old Macdonald becomes the NFL’s youngest head coach and brings to Seattle a reputation as one of the league’s brightest defensive minds, having led the Ravens to No. 1 rankings in points allowed, sacks and takeaways in 2023, his second season as Baltimore’s DC. — Brady Henderson


Former coach: Arthur Smith (fired Jan. 7)
New coach: Raheem Morris (Jan. 25)

Atlanta hired Morris as its coach, making him the first former NFL head coach owner Arthur Blank has hired in his 20-plus-year tenure. He’s also the first full-time Black head coach in the franchise’s history.

Morris’ hire comes after an extensive search that featured 14 candidates, including former Patriots coach Bill Belichick and ex-Titans coach Mike Vrabel.

This marks a return to Flowery Branch, Georgia, for Morris, who was Atlanta’s interim coach for 11 games in 2020 after it fired Dan Quinn midway through the season. Morris went 4-7 but was not given the full-time job. Instead, the Falcons hired Arthur Smith. — Michael Rothstein

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1:09

Why McAfee’s excited for Raheem Morris and the Falcons

Pat McAfee explains why he’s excited to see where Raheem Morris can take the Falcons as their new coach.


Former coach: Frank Reich (fired Nov. 27)
New coach: Dave Canales (Jan. 25)

The Panthers have hired Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales as head coach, the team announced. Terms of the deal were not announced, but a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the contract is for six years.

The Panthers hope Canales, 42, can do for Bryce Young what he did for quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield. — David Newton


Former coach: Brandon Staley (fired Dec. 15)
New coach: Jim Harbaugh (Jan. 24)

What happened: Harbaugh is leaving the national champion Michigan Wolverines to coach the Chargers. Harbaugh’s deal is for five years, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Chargers fired coach Brandon Staley and general manager Tom Telesco on Dec. 15, following a 63-21 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 15. The Chargers held an extensive search after firing Staley, interviewing a league-high 15 candidates.

As a collegiate coach, Harbaugh has a 144-42 record, winning three Big Ten championships and Michigan’s first national title since 1997.

Harbaugh also spent four seasons (2011-14) as the coach of the 49ers, where he was named the NFL’s Coach of the Year in his first season. Harbaugh led the 49ers to the Super Bowl XLVII, where they lost to the Ravens who were coached by his brother John.

Harbaugh left the 49ers after the 2014 season with a 44-19-1 regular record. — Kris Rhim

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Stephen A.: Chargers made the smart move to hire Harbaugh

Stephen A. Smith explains why he sees Jim Harbaugh as the right hire to be the head coach of the Chargers.


Former coach: Mike Vrabel (fired Jan. 9)
New coach: Brian Callahan (hired Jan. 22)

The Titans hired Callahan, who served as the Cincinnati Bengals‘ offensive coordinator the past five seasons. Callahan becomes the sixth coach for the Titans’ franchise since it moved from Houston to Tennessee prior to the 1997 season.

In five seasons as the Bengals offensive coordinator, Callahan helped establish an offense that fueled Cincinnati to two AFC North Division championships and a Super Bowl appearance following the 2021 season.

He broke into the NFL as an offensive assistant for the Denver Broncos in 2010. Callahan served in various roles including coaching assistant, offensive quality control coach and offensive assistant through 2015, when Peyton Manning quarterbacked the Broncos to a Super Bowl-winning season. He’s also worked with Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr and Joe Burrow and will be tasked with helping develop young Titans quarterback Will Levis. — Turron Davenport


Former coach: Josh McDaniels (fired Nov. 1)
New coach: Antonio Pierce (hired Jan. 19)

The Raiders fired McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler one day after losing 26-14 at Detroit on “Monday Night Football,” their second consecutive defeat in which the team’s offense could get no traction.

The Raiders named linebackers coach Pierce as their interim coach. Raiders players bought into Pierce’s leadership style, with All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams saying he would “run through a wall for that man.” Three-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Maxx Crosby, who had a career-high 14.5 sacks this season, also voiced support for Pierce. Pierce led the Raiders to a 5-4 record as an interim coach, highlighted by a Christmas Day win at the Chiefs. The Raiders’ defense led the league in fewest points allowed per game (16.0), most defensive touchdowns (4) and fewest penalties received (31) after Pierce took the reins.

“It’s legendary,” Crosby said after the season finale. “When you have the right culture, a guy like A.P. that embraces the history of the Raiders, it’s special. … A ton of legends [visit] consistently because the amount of respect they have for him. So it makes you, as a player, want to go out there and show who you are. You know what I mean? You want to be at that level one day.”

Many saw the removal of the interim tags from Kelly and Pierce as a fait accompli, with their public appearance during Las Vegas’ MLK Day Parade further signaling they would be hired full-time. — Paul Gutierrez

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1:47

Orlovsky: Raiders keeping Pierce a ‘no-brainer’

Dan Orlovsky and Mina Kimes break down the Raiders’ decision to make Antonio Pierce head coach after his interim stint.


Former coach: Bill Belichick (agreed to parts ways Jan. 11)
New coach: Jerod Mayo (hired Jan. 12)

What happened: Moving swiftly one day after parting ways with Belichick, the Patriots hired Mayo as his successor and the 15th coach in franchise history, the team announced.

A linebacker for the Patriots from 2008 to 2015 after being selected in the first round of the draft out of Tennessee, Mayo joined Belichick’s coaching staff in 2019, serving as linebackers coach. The Patriots were able to forgo the standard NFL hiring process and immediately hire Mayo because they established a succession plan in the contract extension he signed last offseason, similar to what the Baltimore Ravens did with their general manager position when Eric DeCosta succeeded Ozzie Newsome in 2019.

Coordinator openings

Former offensive coordinator: Dave Canales (became Panthers HC)

The Panthers hired Canales as their head coach, leaving a vacant spot for the Buccaneers at offensive coordinator.


Former defensive coordinator: Vic Fangio (parted ways on Jan. 24)

Fangio is out after just one season with the team. Under Fangio, the Dolphins’ defense improved from 18th in yards allowed per game in 2022 to 10th this season. Miami was one of the best defensive teams in the NFL during the second half of the season, notably after the return of CB Jalen Ramsey.


Former offensive coordinator: Shane Waldron (hired as Bears’ OC on Jan. 22)

With Carroll’s departure as coach, the future of the Seahawks’ entire coaching staff is unclear. Typically when a new coach is hired, they form their own staff. Waldron didn’t wait for a new coach to be hired before he took the Bears’ offensive coordinator job after three years in Seattle.


Former offensive coordinator: Pete Carmichael Jr. (fired Jan. 16)

Carmichael was the longest tenured offensive coordinator in the NFL and had been with the Saints since Sean Payton hired him as part of his first staff in 2006. Carmichael was a key part of the Saints’ Super Bowl in the 2009 season and the most successful offenses in franchise history. However, the offense has faced inconsistency since Carmichael took over as playcaller following Payton’s departure after the 2021 season. The team struggled in the red zone for a large part of the season and had trouble getting the offense on the same page as quarterback Derek Carr.


Former offensive coordinator: Mick Lombardi (fired Nov. 1)

When the Raiders parted ways with coach McDaniels and general manager Ziegler, they also fired Lombardi, with quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree being promoted to offensive coordinator. At the time, the Raiders had the No. 31 total offense in the NFL, ranked No. 32 in rushing yards per game (70) and ranked No. 30 in points per game (15.8).

Coordinator jobs that have been filled

Seattle Seahawks

Former defensive coordinator: Clint Hurtt
New DC: Aden Durde (Feb. 9)

The Seahawks plan to hire Durde as their defensive coordinator under new coach Mike Macdonald, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday.

Durde was the Cowboys’ defensive line coach for the past three seasons under then-coordinator Dan Quinn. The only other NFL team he has coached for is the Atlanta Falcons, serving as a coaching intern in 2016, a defensive assistant from 2018-19 and the outside linebackers coach in 2020, all while Quinn was the head coach. Durde began his NFL coaching career as an intern with the Cowboys from 2014-15.


New York Giants

Former defensive coordinator: Wink Martindale
New DC: Shane Bowen (Feb. 5)

Bowen joins coach Brian Daboll’s staff after six years with the Tennessee Titans, including the last three as DC.

Bowen, 37, was the defensive playcaller under coach Mike Vrabel. His Titans defenses ranked 12th, 23rd and 17th.


Former defensive coordinator: Jack Del Rio
New DC: Joe Whitt Jr. (Feb. 4)

The Commanders moved fast after announcing Kingsbury as OC, adding Joe Whitt Jr. as their defensive coordinator shortly after.

From the time Quinn took the Commanders’ job on Thursday, Whitt was considered the top candidate to become his defensive coordinator.

Whitt has coached in the NFL since 2007 but has never been a coordinator.


Former offensive coordinator: Eric Bieniemy
New OC: Kliff Kingsbury (Feb. 4)

The Washington Commanders moved quickly to fill their offensive coordinator position, hiring former Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury, multiple sources told ESPN Sunday night.

It’s the first big move by new coach Dan Quinn, who has coached defense throughout his career. Kingsbury had been close to joining the Las Vegas Raiders as their offensive coordinator until contract talks broke down Saturday.

Washington talked to Kingsbury that day and the deal was completed Sunday.


Former defensive coordinator: Raheem Morris
New DC: Alex Van Pelt (Feb. 1)

The Rams are promoting their pass-rush coordinator and linebackers coach Chris Shula to defensive coordinator, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.


Former offensive coordinator: Bill O’Brien
New OC: Alex Van Pelt (Feb. 1)

The Patriots are hiring Alex Van Pelt as their offensive coordinator. Van Pelt, who spent the past four seasons as the Browns’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, fills a critical position on first-year coach Jerod Mayo’s staff and signifies that the team might be moving to more of a West Coast-based system.

Van Pelt didn’t call the offensive plays for the Browns, as head coach Kevin Stefanski handled those responsibilities, but the 53-year-old stepped in to do so in Cleveland’s playoff win over the Steelers in the 2020 season when Stefanski was sidelined due to COVID-19.

The Patriots tied for last in the NFL in 2023, averaging 13.8 points per game. They have Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe returning at quarterback and also own the No. 3 pick in the NFL draft, with which they could select one of the top collegiate signal-callers.

Former defensive coordinator: Jerod Mayo (became head coach)
New DC: DeMarcus Covington (Jan. 27)

The Patriots are moving forward with plans to promote defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington to defensive coordinator, a source confirmed to ESPN on Saturday. The Patriots have informed other candidates that Covington is the choice, a source relayed to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

The move was expected as Covington, 34, enters his eighth season with the Patriots. He has worked closely with first-year head coach Jerod Mayo, first as outside linebackers coach in 2019 and the past four seasons as defensive line coach.


Former defensive coordinator: Mike Macdonald (new Seahawks HC)
New DC: Zachary Orr (Feb. 1)

The Ravens promoted inside linebackers coach Orr to defensive coordinator Thursday, elevating one of their former star defenders and making history as a result.

Orr is the first former Ravens player to be named to a coordinator position in the franchise’s 28-year existence. In quickly replacing Mike Macdonald, who was hired as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks on Wednesday, Orr is the Ravens’ new defensive playcaller just seven years after being a second-team All-Pro inside linebacker for Baltimore.


Former defensive coordinator: Shane Bowen
New DC: Dennard Wilson (Jan. 31)

The Titans are hiring Ravens defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson to be their defensive coordinator, sources told ESPN. The two sides are nearing a deal to make Wilson the first coach added to Brian Callahan’s staff.

Wilson just completed his 12th season as an NFL coach, and ninth leading defensive backs at the pro level. He spent two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he served as defensive passing game coordinator (2022) and a defensive backs coach (2021 and ’22).


Former offensive coordinator: Matt Canada (fired Nov. 21)
New OC: Arthur Smith (Jan. 30)

Citing offensive inconsistencies and lack of improvement, the Steelers fired Canada, who had been the Steelers’ offensive coordinator since 2021. On Jan 30. they hired former Falcons head coach Arthur Smith.

Smith was fired by the Falcons earlier this month after compiling a 21-30 record in three consecutive 7-10 seasons without a playoff berth. Before his stint in Atlanta, Smith was the Tennessee Titans’ offensive coordinator from 2019-20. Smith initially joined the Tennessee staff in 2011 as a defensive quality control coach and also worked as an offensive quality control coach, offensive line coach, assistant tight ends coach and tight ends coach before his promotion to offensive coordinator.


Former defensive coordinator: Joe Barry (Jan. 24)
New DC: Jeff Hafley (Jan. 31)

The Packers hired Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley as their new defensive coordinator.

He’ll replace Joe Barry and be the third different defensive coordinator as Matt LaFleur enters his sixth year as the franchise’s head coach.

While LaFleur and Hafley have never directly worked together, they have some mutual connections. Hafley was the Browns’ defensive backs coach from 2014 to 2015 under then-head coach Mike Pettine, who was LaFleur’s first defensive coordinator in Green Bay (2019-20). Hafley also worked for 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, one of LaFleur’s mentors. Hafley was the 49ers’ defensive backs coach from 2016 to 2018 before he became Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator.

The rest of the Packers’ defensive coaching staff is under contract for the 2024 season and none of them was let go when the Packers parted ways with Barry. So there’s a good chance some — or all — of them could return to work under Hafley.

Hafley is a veteran NFL assistant coach who worked seven years in the NFL coaching various secondary positions before returning to college football as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator in 2019.


Former offensive coordinator: Thomas Brown (not retained)
New OC: Brad Idzik (Jan. 30)

New Panthers coach Dave Canales is hiring a familiar face as his offensive coordinator, but that person won’t be calling the plays.

Brad Idzik, who followed Canales from the Seahawks to the Buccaneers to coach wide receivers last season, will again follow Canales to the Panthers.

Canales, however, will call plays for the Panthers as he did as the offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay last season, sources told ESPN. Idzik, 32, has never been a playcaller.

Idzik replaces offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, who took over playcalling duties after head coach Frank Reich was fired midseason. Brown was not retained under Canales and joined the Bears as their passing game coordinator.


Former offensive coordinator: Brian Johnson (fired Jan. 23)
New OC: Kellen Moore (Jan. 28)

Former defensive coordinator: Sean Desai (fired Jan. 22)
New OC: Vic Fangio (Jan. 25)

The Eagles are hiring former Chargers and Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore as their offensive coordinator, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The move comes two days after the Eagles hired Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator in the first move of a coaching staff overhaul by Nick Sirianni.

Moore, 35, leaves Los Angeles after just one season. Before that, he was the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator from 2019 to 2022, with his offense ranking in the top four in points per game (27.7), yards per game (391) and third-down conversion percentage (44%) in that span.

Fangio left as defensive coordinator of the Dolphins, who announced they “mutually agreed to part ways” with the veteran assistant coach after one season.

Fangio, 65, worked with the Eagles for two weeks last year as a consultant, helping them prepare for Super Bowl LVII, before eventually joining the Dolphins.


Former offensive coordinator: Dave Ragone
New OC: Zac Robinson (Jan. 28)

The Falcons are bringing over more than just their new head coach from the Rams. In one of the first hires for new Falcons coach Raheem Morris, he is tabbing Robinson to be the team’s offensive coordinator. Robinson, 37, had been the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator for the Rams for the past two seasons as he worked his way up the coaching ranks there.

Former defensive coordinator: Ryan Nielsen
New DC: Jimmy Lake (Jan. 29)

The team announced Monday the hiring of Rams assistant head coach Jimmy Lake as their new defensive coordinator.

Lake was the head coach at the University of Washington from 2020 to ’21 after being in various assistant roles for six seasons prior to that, including as defensive coordinator for two seasons in 2018-19.

Lake has prior NFL experience with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions, coaching the defensive backs. Lake and Morris worked together in Tampa Bay.


Former offensive coordinator: Alex Van Pelt (exited Jan. 17)
New OC:
Ken Dorsey (Jan. 28)

Dorsey was the Buffalo Bills’ offensive coordinator the past two seasons before being fired in November. He will replace Van Pelt, who mutially parted ways with the Browns earlier this month. It is unclear if Dorsey will call plays for Cleveland but head coach Kevin Stefanski has been the team’s primary playcaller since taking over before the 2020 season.


Former offensive coordinator: Brian Callahan (became Titans HC)
New OC: Dan Pitcher (Jan. 24)

The Bengals didn’t wait long to fill an important vacancy, promoting Pitcher to offensive coordinator, the team announced Thursday.

The promotion was made one day after Callahan, who previously held the position, was announced as the Titans’ new head coach.


Former offensive coordinator: Ken Dorsey (fired Nov. 14)
New OC: Joe Brady (elevated from interim OC role Jan. 28)

Brady, who was elevated from his role as quarterbacks coach when Dorsey was fired, had his interim tag removed as expected one week after Buffalo’s playoff road ended against the Chiefs.

Brady, who received high marks for his work with an attack that was consistent during a season-saving, six-game winning streak, also received an endorsement from quarterback Josh Allen. “I love Joe. I love what he brings to this team, to our offense, the juice that he has, the passion he has for football … he’s got my vote,” Allen said last week.

Former defensive coordinator: Leslie Frazier (took 2023 off of coaching)
New DC: Bobby Babich (promoted from interim linebackers coach on Jan. 30)


Former defensive coordinator: Mike Caldwell (fired Jan. 8)
New DC: Ryan Nielsen (Jan. 22)

One day after the Jaguars failed to make the playoffs after starting the season with an 8-3 record, they fired Caldwell. The Jaguars are now set to hire Ryan Nielsen as their new defensive coordinator, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Nielsen spent the past season as the Falcons’ DC after spending the previous six seasons with New Orleans as a defensive line coach, assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator.


Former defensive coordinator: Alan Williams (parted ways Sept. 20, Matt Eberflus called plays rest of season)
New DC: Eric Washington (hired Jan. 27)

Washington has spent 20 seasons as an NFL coach, including the past four with Buffalo. He comes to Chicago after serving as the Bills’ assistant head coach and defensive line coach during the 2023 season. Buffalo’s defense allowed the fourth fewest points (18.7) per game and generated the fourth-most sacks (54) in 2023.

Former offensive coordinator: Luke Getsy (fired Jan. 10)
New OC: Shane Waldron (Jan. 22)

The Bears’ offense showed improvement in Getsy’s second season in Chicago, but it was ultimately not enough for the team to move forward with the 39-year-old offensive coordinator. Chicago’s offense ranked 17th in offensive points per game (20.4), which is its highest mark since ranking 11th in 2018, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Bears are finalizing a deal to make Waldron their next offensive coordinator, a source confirmed to ESPN. He comes to Chicago after spending the past three seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Seahawks.

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