Today is Black Monday in the NFL, and the jockeying amongst teams and candidates for various vacancies has been simmering for weeks. Here is our look at the attractiveness of each destination, ranked from least to most:
6. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are kind of stuck in no man’s land with Matt Ryan at this point. They’ve missed the playoffs three consecutive years, and only two teams in the league — the Eagles and Saints — have a worse cap situation. Right now, the Falcons are slated to be about $25 million over the cap for next season. A rebuild of the franchise could take several years. The good news is that at No. 4, the Falcons can pick a non-quarterback who can make an immediate impact.
5. Detroit Lions
I rank the Lions ahead of the Falcons because they are a year closer to being able to feasibly rebuild. If they want to tear everything down right now, they will have an easier time of it than the Falcons because they aren’t over the cap and there is a potential out in Matthew Stafford’s contract. There would be suitors for Stafford on the trade market. If you want to put the Falcons over the Lions, it would be hard for me to get upset about it.
4. Houston Texans
The Texans have their quarterback of the future in Deshaun Watson, but not a whole lot else. They do not have a first round draft pick this year, and trading away DeAndre Hopkins clearly made an impact on what they were able to accomplish on offense. There is also a weird situation with the chaplain, Jack Easterby, so anyone taking this job would need to go in with open eyes.
3. New York Jets
You might not realize it, but the Jets are well-positioned to make a run in the next few years, if they can find a competent manager. I get it. That’s a big “if.” However, they rank third in the NFL in cap space right now, with $69 million. They pick second overall in the Draft and get Seattle’s first round pick from the Jamal Adams trade. Therefore, they can either add a quarterback like Justin Fields or Zach Wilson to compete with or potentially supplant Sam Darnold. They could also add an impact pass rusher or offensive lineman, or they could trade the pick to a QB-needy team. There is a strong GM in place in Joe Douglas. This is a good head coaching job, despite franchise history.
2. Los Angeles Chargers
Speaking of good jobs with historically rocky franchises, the Chargers one is great. With Justin Herbert, a new coach will have a potentially great quarterback on a rookie deal. Herbert makes throws that only Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and perhaps also Josh Allen and Kyler Murray can make. The Chargers also have a good amount of cap space — the 10th most in the league — to add talent.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
This is the best job out of this bunch. Not only is the new coach inheriting the first overall pick, which should be used on Trevor Lawrence, but the team could also have over $100 million in cap space this offseason. Whether it’s Urban Meyer or someone else, this will be a great opportunity to succeed.