On Black Monday, four additional head coaches were fired: Mike Shanahan, Leslie Frasier, Greg Schiano, and Jim Schwartz. With the previously fired Rob Chudzinski (whose firing was announced Sunday evening) and Gary Kubiak (fired early in December), there are now six head coach openings across the league, with the possibility of several more.
There will be a long list of candidates to fill the many openings. Here’s the latest buzz on the head coaching vacancies (USA Today also put together a nice list of candidates for all the openings):
*Browns – Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ name has been floated around as a candidate and appears to be the early favorite for the job in Cleveland. The Browns have also requested interviews with Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinnare and Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Joe Banner has already excluded candidates that interviewed for the job last year.
*Vikings – Rob Chudzinksi could make the move to Minnesota, according to some sources. Denver coordinators, Jack Del Rio and Adam Gase (Gase already declined an interview with the Browns and will not be attending any interviews until after the conclusion of the Broncos’ season), are also on the Vikings’ radar, as is Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinnare. The Vikings are in the process of constructing a new stadium and the owner is looking to make a high-profile move to boost the buzz surrounding the stadium’s unveiling.
*Lions – The Lions have also reached out to interview Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is also believed to be a candidate.
*Redskins – Bruce Allen did not offer much in terms of where the team is headed with their head coach search other than to say that the list is “open.” Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, former Bears head coach Lovie Smith and Stanford’s David Shaw have all been named as early candidates, according to sources.
*Bucs – Former Bears head coach Lovie Smith is considered the favorite to land the Bucs gig. Another coach the Buccaneers are considering is former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, according to Adam Schefter. The Buccaneers also fired their general manager, Mark Dominik, and will also be lining up interview’s to replace him.
*Texans – The Texans appear to be closing in on hiring Penn State head coach (and former Patriots offensive coordinator) Bill O’Brien. UPDATE: According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the Texans deal with O’Brien is imminent and is expected to be done in the next 24 hours.
There is a possibility that Titans head coach Mike Munchak, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen and Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett (though Garrett seems safe, for now) could be fired before too long. For live updates, you can visit nfl.com’s head coach tracker.
- The NFL has announced a tentative draft order, with the Broncos and Seahawks selecting 31 and 32 respectively. The top 20 picks are set, and the remaining 12 spots will be determined based on the playoffs.
- The NFL has issued a statement regarding the officiating in Sunday’s Chiefs-Chargers game, which included two non-calls that if called correctly, could have potentially changde the outcome of the game and the playoff picture for the entire AFC.
- Broncs WR Wes Welker has been medically cleared for the playoffs.
- ESPN has hired Tim Tebow as an analyst for SEC Nation, a new pregame show that will travel to different SEC campus’ across the country. The network will debut in August. According to sources, Tebow has an out-clause in his contract in the event that an NFL team comes calling.
- Percy Harvin (hip) will return to practice week, and could play after the team’s bye.
Kristine Reese is the NFL editor for Aerys Sports. You can follow her on Twitter @KristineReese.