NFL Rumors: Latest Gossip Surrounding 2022 Head Coaching Vacancies

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2022

NFL Rumors: Latest Gossip Surrounding 2022 Head Coaching Vacancies

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    The 2021-22 NFL regular season came to a close on Sunday. Naturally, it brought with it a host of firings and front-office changes.

    The Denver Broncos fired head coach Vic Fangio on Sunday. The Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins followed suit on Monday, firing Mike Zimmer, Matt Nagy and Brian Flores, respectively. On Tuesday, the New York Giants relieved Joe Judge.

    Along with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Las Vegas Raiders, this leaves seven teams likely searching for head coaches this offseason—though the Raiders are in the playoffs and could opt to keep interim Rich Bisaccia.

    What's the latest buzz on the ole' coaching carousel? Let's take a look.

Raiders May Soon Join the Coaching Search

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    Ellen Schmidt/Associated Press

    For now, the Raiders are focused on playing the Cincinnati Bengals on Super Wild Card Weekend. If Las Vegas advances to the divisional round, Bisaccia will have an even stronger case for becoming the coach on a more permanent basis.

    Bisaccia has already navigated a ton of adversity this year and pushed the Raiders into the postseason.

    However, ESPN's Adam Schefter doesn't believe that Bisaccia is coaching for his Las Vegas future.

    "I don't think that he believes that he has a chance to keep the job, which is unfortunate, because he's done a great job," Schefter said on Mad Dog Sports Radio.

    While this is pure speculation, it meshes with earlier reports that franchise owner Mark Davis may chase a bigger name on the coaching market.

    "If the Raiders make the playoffs, there is an argument to be made for retaining Bisaccia as the head coach," Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote in late December. "However, Mark Davis, who owns the Las Vegas Aces as well as the Raiders, is not afraid to take a big swing when it comes to the leader of his franchises."

    One thing that does appear clear is that Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will be a consideration in the coaching decision.

    "I'm told Derek Carr's presence will factor heavily into the thinking," ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, wrote. "The Raiders are all-in on Carr as the franchise guy."

Jim Harbaugh Appears to Be Considering NFL Return

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    If Davis goes for the proverbial "big fish," might he target Michigan's head coach Jim Harbaugh? It would make some sense, as Harbaugh had immediate success when he was head coach of the San Francisco 49ers—and he began his coaching career with the Raiders back in 2002.

    This, of course, would depend on Harbaugh's willingness to leave the Wolverines for the NFL. Well, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, he is at least considering such a move.

    "Jim Harbaugh, I can tell you this, has been calling around, asking for people, in case he gets an NFL job, if they would join his staff," Glazer said on the Fox NFL pregame show.

    While Harbaugh hasn't confirmed rumors that he could return to the NFL, he hasn't flat-out denied them, either.

    "It's a little more enjoyable this year compared to the rumors last year," Harbaugh told reporters.

    The Dolphins, who surprisingly fired Flores after a second straight winning season, don't appear to be in on Harbaugh.

    "He's at the University of Michigan as everybody really knows," franchise owner Stephen Ross said, per Michael Cohen of the Detroit Free Press. "And I guess that is my school I graduated from and I'm really involved in it, and I'm not going to be the person who takes Jim Harbaugh from the University of Michigan. I hope he stays there."

    Ross, it seems, won't poach from his alma mater to fill his head coaching vacancy.

Dan Quinn Drawing Plenty of Interest

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    Terrance Williams/Associated Press

    It seems that Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will be a hot commodity on the coaching carousel this offseason. According to ESPN's Dan Graziano, Quinn is the front-runner for at least one franchise with a vacancy.

    "I have also heard Quinn as a potential front-runner [for the Denver Broncos], but he's drawing interest everywhere right now and might be able to pick which interviews he takes and which he doesn't," Graziano wrote.

    Quinn previously coached the Atlanta Falcons and helped them reach the Super Bowl in his second season with the club. This year, he helped revitalize a Cowboys defense that was borderline embarrassing in 2020.

    Dallas ranked 23rd in total defense and 28th in points allowed a year ago. It finished the 2021 season ranked 19th and seventh in those categories, respectively.

    According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, at least four teams have requested to interview Quinn—including the Bears.

    For now, Quinn is focused on guiding the Cowboys past the 49ers in the opening round of the playoffs. We'll likely know more about his future whenever Dallas' postseason comes to a close.