The vacant NFL head coaching jobs ranked, and the candidates rumored to be in the mix for them

  • Eight NFL teams are heading into the offseason in search of a new head coach.
  • Some candidates in high demand could have their pick of available gigs.
  • Looking at the situation of each franchise, it's clear that two teams are far better opportunities than any other in the NFL.

The 2018 NFL regular season is in the books, with 12 teams left to compete for their spot in Super Bowl LII and the rest of the league preparing for next year.

For many teams whose season is over, that means cleaning shop, and on this week's proverbial "Black Monday," a whopping six teams chose to let go of their head coaches in favor of searching for another candidate for the job.

Combined with the midseason firings, there are eight head coaching positions to be filled, and a plethora of candidates that includes former coaches, current college coaches, and coordinators hoping to make the leap.

While there are only so many NFL head-coaching jobs, not all are created equal. Depending on the state of the franchise — it's young players, cap space, and the influence of ownership — some jobs look much more enviable heading into the 2019 season.

Below we break down the most enticing jobs in the NFL and some of the candidates rumored to be in the mix to fill them.

Ranking the vacant head coaching spots in the NFL
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Ranking the vacant head coaching spots in the NFL
8. Miami Dolphins

2018 record: 7-9

Rumored candidates: Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores, Dolphins special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi

Why they're interested: You have to start your NFL head coaching career somewhere and all of the names currently set to interview for the Miami job so far would be first-time head coaches in the league. With big questions across the board on offense, from a frustratingly average quarterback to a group of receivers and running backs that were quite vocal about their dislike of previous head coach Adam Gase, it will be far from an easy entrance into NFL head coaching.

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
7. Cincinnati Bengals

2018 record: 6-10

Rumored candidates: Former Browns head coach Hue Jackson, former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels

Why they're interested: The Bengals have been stuck between being bad and mediocre for too long, and while the roster includes some studs such as A.J. Green and Joe Mixon, the team is far from a Super Bowl run. Still, the Bengals job is an opportunity to rebuild the team anew and comes with what must feel like a healthy amount of job security.

(Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2018 record: 5-11

Rumored candidates: Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy

Why they're interested: There's a good amount of talent in Tampa Bay, but even after a difficult year at the quarterback position, general manager Jason Licht recently made it clear that the team would be sticking with Jameis Winston moving forward. If that's something an incoming head coach is willing to work with, the Buccaneers job is rather enticing.

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
5. Denver Broncos

2018 record: 6-10

Rumored candidates: Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores, Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak, Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy

Why they're interested: While a tough division and a far-from-luxurious cap situation after signing Von Miller and Case Keenum ensure that the Broncos job will be a challenging one, the franchise likely sports one of the most talented rosters available to an incoming head coach.

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
4. Arizona Cardinals

2018 record: 3-13

Rumored candidates: Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell, Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, USC offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury

Why they're interested: Josh Rosen's rookie season didn't go as well as planned, but he still has plenty of potential to turn into a franchise quarterback. Meanwhile, David Johnson might have been the most underutilized skill position player of the 2018 season and is a talent that any incoming coach would appreciate. The biggest drawback of the job? Being stuck in the same division as the Rams, Seahawks, and 49ers.

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
3. New York Jets

2018 record: 4-12

Rumored candidates: Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, USC offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury

Why they're interested: The Jets don't have quite the stockpile of young talent that the Browns have. But with Sam Darnold, a slew of draft picks, and a good amount of cap space in the coming seasons, whoever takes over the Jets head coaching job will be in a position to turn the team around.

(Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
2. Green Bay Packers

2018 record: 6-9-1

Rumored candidates: Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores, former Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano

Why they're interested: Aaron Rodgers isn't getting any younger, but he still has plenty of game left in him at 35 years old. The opportunity to coach the greatest quarterback of a generation doesn't come around all that often.

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
1. Cleveland Browns

2018 record: 7-8-1

Rumored candidates: Interim head coach Gregg Williams, former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell

Why they're interested: Lead by rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Cleveland Browns showed during the second half of the season how much potential they have over the next few years — going an emphatic 5-3 after the mid-season firing of Hue Jackson. Between Mayfield and a slew of other talented early-round picks over the past two years, including Nick Chubb, Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, and more, the Browns are only set to get better in the immediate future, in a city that's hungrier for a winning football team than any in the country.

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

More NFL coverage:

The Patriots restructured Tom Brady's contract before the season, and it ended up costing him $5 million

New report casts doubt on reason for Antonio Brown's absence from Steelers' must-win season finale

NFL POWER RANKINGS: Where each playoff team stands heading into the wild-card round

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