Firing season may be winding down in the NFL.
But hiring season is kicking into gear.
As the NFL Playoffs loomed, eight teams were looking for a new head coach. While there may be some surprises still in store, based on how the playoffs unfold, at least a quarter of the league is looking for a new head coach.
One of those teams? The New England Patriots. They parted ways with legendary head coach Bill Belichick, announcing the decision on Thursday. However, the Patriots had a clear succession plan in place, and were the first team to announce a new head coach.
Here are all the head coach hirings, starting with the new leader in Foxborough.
New England Patriots hire Jerod Mayo
As noted above, the Patriots became the first team to name a new head coach, with the news on Friday that Jerod Mayo would be stepping into the role vacated by Belichick:
It’s a new era in New England: the Patriots have hired Jerod Mayo as their next head coach and he will be formally introduced at a press conference next week, a source tells ESPN. pic.twitter.com/SeHKoAonrP
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 12, 2024
Mayo was viewed by many as the top internal option to replace Belichick, and it seems the team agreed. Word broke on Thursday evening that when the organization reworked Mayo’s contract with the team prior to the 2023 season, they contractually established the defensive coach as Belichick’s successor:
Now, Mayo takes over. The former Patriots linebacker has spent his entire NFL career in New England, when he was drafted in the first round by the Patriots in the 2008 NFL Draft. His eight-year career in New England as a player ended after the 2015 season, and he returned to the organization in 2019 as their inside linebackers coach, a role he held until his promotion to head coach.
Las Vegas Raiders are sticking with Antonio Pierce
The interim tag is no more for Antonio Pierce.
According to multiple reports, the Las Vegas Raiders are finalizing a deal to make Pierce the 23rd head coach in franchise history:
After going 5-4 down the stretch, Pierce gets the full-time job, which is welcome news to many, including Maxx Crosby. pic.twitter.com/w8vaZgY1QV
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 19, 2024
After the Raiders started 3-5 this season under Josh McDaniels, their playoff hopes seemed far-fetched, and McDaniels was out of a job. But under Pierce the Raiders went 5-4, and fought back into playoff contention before being eliminated.
This was a move that many, from Maxx Crosby to us here at SB Nation, were hoping to see.
Tennessee Titans are hiring Brian Callahan
The latest move? The Tennessee Titans are reportedly hiring Brian Callahan as their next head coach. Callahan was meeting with Titans leadership on Monday for a second interview, and are not “letting him out of the building,” according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network:
Callahan started his coaching career as a coaching assistant with the Denver Broncos in 2010, and then spent two years as a quality control assistant and then two more as an offensive assistant. He joined the Lions as a quarterbacks coach in 2016, serving in that capacity for two seasons. Callahan then spent a season with the Raiders as their QB coach, before joining the Bengals as their offensive coordinator in 2019, the role he now vacates in Cincinnati.
During his NFL journey, Callahan has worked with quarterback from Peyton Manning to Joe Burrow.
Los Angeles Chargers are hiring Jim Harbaugh
Harbaugh is headed back to the NFL:
The big question: Will it work?
Carolina Panthers are hiring Dave Canales
The Carolina Panthers have found their next head coach. The organization is hiring Dave Canales, who was the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past season. Prior to that position, Canales was in Seattle, where he started out as the team’s wide receivers coach in 2010. He became the quarterbacks coach in 2018, serving in that capacity for two years before becoming the team’s passing game coordinator.
Canales returned to the QB coach role in 2022, before making the move to Tampa Bay.
Panthers are hiring Buccaneers’ offensive Dave Canales as their new head coach, per sources. Panthers have offered the job and Canales is taking it. “It will get done,” per source. pic.twitter.com/yddN1uEKyd
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 25, 2024
The biggest task ahead for Canales? Making sure he can get the best out of Bryce Young.
Atlanta Falcons are bringing back Raheem Morris
During the 2020 season the Atlanta Falcons struggled out of the gate, losing their first five games en route to a 0-5 start. That’s when the organization fired head coach Dan Quinn, replacing him on an interim basis with defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.
Under Morris, the team won four of their next six games, climbing back to a somewhat respectable 4-7 record. But they closed out the season with five-straight losses once more, finishing 4-12. The team hired Arthur Smith in the offseason, and Morris headed west to take the DC role with the Los Angeles Rams.
Now he is back, as the next Falcons head coach:
What are the other NFL head coach openings?
Pete Carroll is out, and a new era begins
New ownership has money, and the team is picking No. 2 in the 2024 NFL Draft. It’s not going to be an overnight fix in Washington, but there’s upside here.