8:55 a.m.: Jon Gruden is the No. 1 coaching candidate on just about everybody’s wish list, and with the regular season finally over, his courting can officially begin.
While Gruden has said he plans to remain in the booth for ESPN’s Monday Night Football, Mike Freeman of CBS Sports says Gruden and his cohorts have been drumming up interest in the former Raiders and Buccaneers coach in recent days. Gruden will reportedly interview for head coaching jobs as soon as today.
Gruden will most likely end up with a team like the Eagles, with whom he was a coordinator, or the Chargers, according to reports.
8:45 a.m. ET: While Sunday was possibly the best day of the entire NFL season, Monday brings a different kind of action. After a day full of soaring victories, playoff clinching and record pursuits, coaches around the NFL are expected to get their pink slips on what has become known as Black Monday.
No fewer than 20 coaches have been named as likely to lose their jobs, and as morning dawns, a few have already been fired, according to reports. Romeo Crennel is out in Kansas City (leading to a possible return to New England?), and Andy Reid has been given the news that everyone expected since early this year.
The Jaguars are also starting to clean house, with general manager Gene Smith getting the hook early this morning.
Shahid Khan today announced that the team is parting ways with general manager Gene Smith. #Jaguars— Jacksonville Jaguars (@jaguars) December 31, 2012
Those moves were among the expected, and it’s surprising at this point that other teams, like the Browns, haven’t dismantled their leadership teams already. The Bears are also expected to part with Lovie Smith after missing the playoffs, and although Jason Garett is reportedly safe in Dallas after the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs, that loss could sting hard enough that owner Jerry Jones could get moving again.
Other coaches expected to get the hook sooner rather than later are the Bills’ Chan Gailey and the Chargers’ Norv Turner. Jim Schwartz is also reportedly feeling the heat in Detroit despite a contract extension that was supposed to keep him around until 2015.
One thing that may keep owners from cutting their coaches loose too quickly this year, though, is the huge number of coaches expected to be fired. By simple math, if too many quality coaches get fired, there won’t be enough to fill the ranks, even if a bunch of coordinators get promoted. So some teams that are sort of OK with their coaching situations may keep their top man just a bit longer.
Check back here to see how Black Monday continues to shake out. We’ll keep you updated on all the front office and coaching moves as the day goes on.