Lovie Smith was a shocking Black Monday casualty, but he will have plenty of opportunities around the league.
The NFL coaching carousel has reached frightening speeds now that seven teams have fired their head coaches, and there are a variety of rumors floating around about who could fill the coaching vacancies.
Many of the coaches freshly hitting the unemployed market will not have a chance as a head coach again next season. This opens up the door for younger assistants to move up and begin the next generation of head coaches.
This also leaves the door open for a few retired coaches to make surprise returns.
Let's examine the latest rumors as to who is landing where on the 2012 NFL coaching carousel.
Lovie Smith is a smart choice for the Bills given his prowess with the 4-3 defense, but is that enough to bring Smith to Buffalo?
UPDATE: Tuesday, January 1 at 1:35ET
According to USA Today, the Bills will also interview recently fired Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt and Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
-- End of Update --
The Buffalo Bills have moved on from head coach Chan Gailey. This means the search for a replacement is officially underway.
According to Dan Hanzus of NFL.com, Chicago Bears casualty Lovie Smith is a candidate for Buffalo's head coaching vacancy. It is a perfect fit considering the defensive talent on the team perfectly matches Smith's coaching style.
Buffalo has also shown interest in some offensive minds, most notably San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman (Chris Trapasso) and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden (Cincy Jungle).
It appears the regime in Buffalo has its heart set on an offensive-minded coach given the mediocrity of the unit under Gailey.
It also does not hurt to have a coach as prestigious as Smith interested in the job. The Bills appear to have a variety of options to choose from this offseason.
The Bills will also interview Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone (Adam Schefter).
Bruce Arians has more than proved he can be a great head coach. Whether he wants the job in San Diego remains to be seen.
In a long-overdue move, the San Diego Chargers have fired Norv Turner.
There has not been a lot of chatter just yet about who the Chargers are looking to pursue, but one name has popped up—Bruce Arians, the man currently serving as the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts.
According to Wishtv.com, the Chargers are reportedly making a run at Arians after the postseason. It is a great move for a franchise that needs an entire culture change.
Arians has done a magnificent job with the Colts in place of head coach Chuck Pagano, who was on leave while battling cancer.
While Arians is not the only name the Chargers will pursue, he may be the best the organization is able to land when all is said and done. That is not a bad thing by any means.
One name the Chargers will not be pursuing is former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid (ProFootballTalk).
Cleveland is but one team that will attempt to lure Chip Kelly from the college ranks. Do the Browns have enough to land Kelly?
Pat Shurmur was one of the earliest victims of Black Monday as the Cleveland Browns elected to start over.
The Browns organization is looking for a fresh start, and that apparently means the team will attempt to find a young, offensive-minded coach this offseason.
Two names that have popped up the most in relation to the Browns so far are Oregon's Chip Kelly and Penn State's Bill O'Brien (ESPN).
Both are suitable fits for the Browns, who need someone to come in and seriously turn things around on the offensive side of the ball while invigorating the roster.
Kelly is the biggest collegiate name on the market right now, as he is an offensive genius that appears ready to take the NFL by storm. O'Brien is a masterful leader that has led the Nittany Lions through a serious storm.
Either way, the Browns cannot go wrong with either man.
The Eagles want to hire another offensive-minded coach, and Penn State's Bill O'Brien fits that mold.
It was a great run, but the Philadelphia Eagles have finally decided to part ways with head coach Andy Reid.
Philadelphia has already been hard at work compiling a list of candidates to replace Reid, at least according to Howard Eskin of Fox 29 (via ProFootballTalk).
The names on the list are: Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, Oregon coach Chip Kelly and Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
The one thing all of these names share in common? Each one is an offensive-minded coach, which tells you exactly where the Eagles organization wants to make an upgrade.
It is not shocking to see Philadelphia want to replace an offensive coach with another. One thing is for sure: The Eagles sure do not lack for candidates.
Update: The Eagles are reportedly interviewing Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter as well (ProFootballTalk).
The Chiefs have shown interest in a few names from Atlanta, including special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.
In another not-so-surprising move, the Kansas City Chiefs have fired head coach Romeo Crennel.
The Chiefs are obviously hoping to upgrade the offensive side of the football after last year's staff could not figure out how to use one of the best running backs in the league in Jamaal Charles.
Kansas City is likely one head coach and quarterback away from contending for the division. The search for a head coach starts now.
The Cardinals are heavily pursuing Andy Reid as their next head coach in Arizona.
The Arizona Cardinals were on the fence about firing head coach Ken Whisenhunt, but the move is now official.
Arizona already has a variety of interviews lined up, and a surprise man with an interest in the job as well.
According to ProFootballTalk, the Cardinals will interview former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and their own defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
In somewhat surprising news, former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith has a strong interest in the job as well (NFL.com).
The Cardinals certainly do not lack for options. Reid makes a lot of sense as he is already familiar with quarterback Kevin Kolb and is known for his offensive mind.
Smith is a surprise option, and one that could make the Arizona defense even better.
So far, the Cardinals appear to be drawing the most interest this offseason.
Chicago has already asked to interview Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.
In a somewhat unexpected move, the Chicago Bears decided to fire head coach Lovie Smith despite a 10-win season.
Chicago has already been hard at work finding Smith's replacement.
The team has asked permission to interview Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy (ProFootballTalk).
The organization has already set up interviews with Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan (ProFootballTalk) and Atlanta Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong (ProFootballTalk).
Chicago is clearly looking to go the offensive route when hiring a new head coach. Luckily for the Bears, there are a number of elite offensive-minded coaches available.