January 25, 2022

NFL Head Coach Odds: Who Are The Betting Favorites To Fill Every Coaching Vacancy?

With the 2021-22 NFL season coming to a close, we'll start to see the open head coaching vacancies be filled in the near future. 

Needing a new head coach is always scary, but it can also be a source of optimism and a fresh start for fans who desperately need it. 

As a Browns fan, I have come to accept that just being optimistic during the offseason is the least painful route. Do not set expectations, just keep thinking about the future, and eventually, you will forget about how bad your favorite team is. 

Anyway, our good friends over at DraftKings have set the odds for the next head coach for the nine open coaching jobs in the NFL, and we are going to take a look at each favorite. 

New Orleans Saints: N/A

Immediately after this got published, Saints head coach Sean Payton announced his retirement. No odds have been given and it is too early to predict. 

We will update this when odds are available. 

Chicago Bears: Jim Caldwell (+300)

If you were to tell Bears' fans that Matt Nagy would lead them to the playoffs twice and win an NFC North title, they would be pretty hyped for the future, especially with Justin Fields looking like the most talented quarterback in Bears history. 

Instead, Nagy became a disaster as 2018 was the only season that the Bears were ranked outside the bottom 20 in scoring. His defense was the best in the NFL for the first two seasons of the Nagy era but like the offense, they continued to decline across the board. With a franchise quarterback that struggled under Nagy's system, the Bears need to find a guy not only to win them games but also help in Fields' development. 

Caldwell got his first head coaching gig with the Colts in 2009 and led them to a 14-2 record and a Super Bowl appearance. He went on to coach the Colts for three seasons (26-22), and then in 2014, he took the head coaching job with the Lions, where he coached them to three winning seasons and two playoff appearances. 

Other Candidates: Brian Daboll (+400), Brian Flores (+450), Matt Eberflus (+600)

Houston Texans: Brian Flores (+350)

Whoever takes the Houston Texans job with have their hands full.

They will be inheriting the Deshaun Watson situation, and, of course, the Texans do not have a lot of redeeming qualities at this moment. Bad trades and contracts have left the Texans with little to no hope of competing in the next five years or so. 

However, Flores is widely known for being a players-coach, and his relationship with Watson almost brought them together in Miami. Flores has a proven record in this league, is known for being great at building a winning culture, and will fight for his players. These are all very important qualities for a coach that will take on a long-term project. 

The Texans have the third overall pick, so whoever they hire will pretty much get their pick of the available college talent to mold and turn into the first piece of the puzzle for the Texans' rebuild. 

Other Candidates: Jerod Mayo (+400), Josh McCown (+500), Josh McDaniels (+550)

Denver Broncos: Kellen Moore (+400)

After a legendary career at Boise State and a brief stint with the Cowboys, Kellen Moore quickly rose up the ranks on the Dallas coaching staff and eventually was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2019. 

Moore instantly turned the Cowboys into a top-10 offense, and this season, Dallas was the top offense in the NFL. While the consensus on Cowboys twitter is that Morre is actually bad, the 32-year-old has quickly made a name for himself in the coaching ranks, and it is only a matter of time before he is given his first head coaching role. 

Whoever Denver brings in will have one of the best rosters to work with, but they will need to find a quarterback either through a trade or the draft. 

Other Candidates: Nathaniel Hackett (+450), Dan Quinn (+600), Eric Bieniemy (+600)

Minnesota Vikings: Todd Bowles (+200)

The Vikings are in a very interesting spot. As currently constructed, they are good enough to possibly go on a run, but they also would probably need to acquire a player or two, especially on defense. 

Bowles led the Jets to a 10-6 record in 2015 in his first year as head coach in New York, but he only went 14-34 in his next three years. He then went on to become the defensive coordinator with Tampa Bay, where he would help lead them to a Super Bowl in 2020. 

Minnesota currently has a decision to make at quarterback as Kirk Cousins is owed $35 million this season, and carries a $45 million cap hit. He has already been linked to Cleveland, Denver, and Carolina as the Vikings look to build off the young talent that they have now. 

Other Candidates: Doug Pederson (+400), Eric Bieniemy (+400), Raheem Morris (+600)

Miami Dolphins: Vance Joseph (+250)

Before becoming the head coach of the Broncos for a few seasons, Joseph spent some time in Miami as their defensive coordinator and he served in that position the last time the Dolphins made the postseason (2016). He only went 11-21 in his two seasons in Denver, but with so much turnover at quarterback, he never really had the chance to succeed in Denver. 

The problem is that he is inexperienced, and the Dolphins should be looking for a guy that will "win now." The roster is in place, and Miami is an obvious free agency destination. If they can land one of these top quarterbacks through the trade market then Miami could be a very dangerous team in 2022.

Joseph is not a sexy hire, but the Dolphins can certainly do a lot worse. 

Other Candidates: Brian Daboll (+400), Josh McDaniels (+450), Byron Leftwich (+600)

Jacksonville Jaguars: Byron Leftwich (+200)

This hire seems like it would be a slam dunk. Leftwich was a first-round selection of the Jaguars back in 2003 and he has been the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator since 2019, and although he had Tom Brady at his disposal, he led them to a Super Bowl in 2020. 

Leftwich got his coaching career started as the Cardinals QB coach in 2017 under Bruce Arians. He was promoted to interim offensive coordinator in 2018, and after Arians took the Tampa Bay job, he followed him to become the permanent offensive coordinator. 

However, if the Jags were to go with Leftwich, it would be their second straight head coaching hire who previously had no experience being a head coach in the NFL. As we know, the Urban Meyer era in Jacksonville went very smoothly and totally was not a wasted year for Trevor Lawrence. 

Other Candidates: Nathaniel Hackett (+300), Matt Eberflus (+650), Bill O'Brien (+700)

Las Vegas Raiders: Jim Harbaugh (+200)

If I were Mark Davis, I would do everything in my power to get Harbaugh to Las Vegas. Hell, every team should want Harbaugh. All he has done is win at every job he has had. 

In his entire coaching career, he has only had two losing seasons, and those came in his first two seasons at Stanford. While all this noise of a return to the NFL might be a negotiating tactic to get Michigan to up his contract after leading the Wolverines to a win over Ohio State, a Big Ten Championship, and a trip to the CFP. 

According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, Harbaugh would take the Raiders job if offered, so him being the favorite should come as no surprise. Las Vegas is also in a position to grab an Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson this offseason. Adding a top-tier quarterback to a roster that made the playoffs despite the adversity that plagued them all season. 

This is not a shot at Derek Carr as he has been very good in his career, but he is no Wilson or Rodgers. It also helps that Las Vegas is a desirable location.

Other Candidates: Rich Bisaccia (+250), Josh McDaniels (+600), Doug Pederson (+600)

Photo: Getty Images