None of the six head-coaching vacancies have been filled as NFL rumors pick up about candidates and interviews one week after the regular season came to a conclusion.
We’ve read all about the obvious names in this cycle. Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady and San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh seem to be the hottest commodities as teams make plans to replace their recently fired coaches.
However, there might be another wrinkle to this situation. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, at least one team is looking to go the non-traditional route when it comes to bringing on a new head coach:
“In the current cycle, there’s buzz that one of the teams currently looking for a coach — the Jets, Jaguars, Lions, Falcons, Chargers, and Texans — could attempt to hire a current head coach with another team. The coach’s current team could end it all quickly by hanging up the phone. But it costs nothing to make the call, and it’s believed that at least one team may make the call to one of the teams that, at least for now, has a head coach.”
There’s no suggestions one way or another pointing to a specific team that might look to pull off a Jon Gruden-type trade for a head coach. Remember, back in 2002 Gruden was dealt from the then-Oakland Raiders to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for multiple first- and second-round picks. It’s certainly a rarity, one that would set the football world on fire.
The obvious link here is Doug Pederson to the Jets. Pederson worked with Jets general manager Joe Douglas in Philadelphia.
There’s a chance the Eagles entertain New York in “trade” talks for the head coach after it looked like the two sides were headed for a divorce toward the end of a brutal four-win season in Philadelphia. New York is also said to be interested in an offensive-minded head coach to replace Gase.
As far as NFL rumors go, this specific one would make sense. The Jets boast young quarterback Sam Darnold under center and have the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Whatever happens on that front, they will have an inexperienced player manning the game’s most important position. Pederson earned his stripes in Philadelphia by turning Carson Wentz into a top-end quarterback before some major struggles in 2020.
Purely hypothetical, but Mike Zimmer (Vikings) and Sean Payton (Saints) are two other names who could come up as it relates to a team trading for a head coach.
There have long been rumors that Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings could part ways. Meanwhile, NFL rumors surrounding a Payton “trade” ramped up big-time last offseason when the Dallas Cowboys had an opening.
Either way, this is certainly something to keep an eye on as the NFL head-coaching hiring cycle continues.