Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 12/31/12

DENVER - OCTOBER 05: Head coach Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers leads his team against the Denver Broncos during NFL action on October 5, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Buccaneers 16-13. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The NFL coaching carousel took full effect on Monday as seven coaches were hit with the axe, meaning there will be at least seven fresh faces guiding teams next fall. Vacancies opened up in Arizona, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Kansas City, Philadelphia and San Diego, and there should be wild speculation abound as to potential candidates over the next few weeks. Jon Gruden is a hot name that will ultimately come up in conversation for almost any vacant head coaching position, just like Bill Cowher did for the first few years after he left the sidelines for the television studio. Hot-button names like Gruden will certainly begin to circulate in the coming days, but he isn’t alone in the hot commodities pile. There is plenty of interest in a number of former head coaches, current coordinators and college coaches. So, don’t be surprised if an unexpected name or two, like Greg Schiano‘s last year, ends up in the conversation either. So, with plenty of names to mention and scenarios to speculate on, let’s take a look at which candidates should get the most attention in the coming weeks. Click here to see who could be filling your team’s coaching vacancy >> Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.
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