Welcome to another edition of the NFL coaching carousel. Like last year, there are several intriguing candidates who could be lead men in 2023, such as Sean Payton, Jim Harbaugh, DeMeco Ryans, Shane Steichen, Dan Quinn and Ben Johnson. While there is no shortage of interesting candidates, what open job would they choose if it was their decision? 

There are currently five open head coaching jobs in the NFL. There are pros and cons that come with each. Some have their quarterbacks in place, others don’t. Some have cap space and young talent, while others do not. Let’s take a crack at ranking the open jobs in the NFL. 

Salary cap figures taken from Over The Cap

1. Carolina Panthers

You have to be impressed with how the Panthers went 6-6 after Matt Rhule was fired. It’s a big reason why Steve Wilks will be in consideration for the full-time gig, although ultimately I think Carolina goes in a different direction. 

A couple of pros for the Carolina job are that the division the Panthers play in is virtually up for grabs at this point, plus they have four picks in the first three rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft. Additionally, Carolina possesses plenty of young talent. 

The offensive line was improved from 2021 with the addition of left tackle Ikem Ekwonu, although it hurts that Brady Christensen and Austin Corbett went down with injures in the regular-season finale, and D.J. Moore has already been locked up for the future. I think he’s one of the most underrated wide receivers in the NFL. Defensively, Carolina has plenty of talent as well. The Panthers have already made it known Brian Burns is a building block, Derrick Brown had a good year, Frankie Luvu, Shaq Thompson and Brandon Smith are intriguing linebackers and then Jaycee Horn is an up-and-coming star cornerback. There’s a couple of holes to fill of course, but this roster isn’t bad. 

As for the cons, the Panthers currently have just over $1M in cap space, and then there’s the quarterback issue. Sam Darnold showed some improvement in 2022, going 4-2 as the starter. Still, is he really the long-term answer? Bottom line, I like the Panthers job. The new lead man has a chance to compete immediately in the NFC South if the right decisions are made this offseason. 


2. Indianapolis Colts

What a dramatic season for the Colts. The AFC South preseason favorites finished 4-12-1, fired head coach Frank Reich and benched offseason addition Matt Ryan. Interim head coach Jeff Saturday will get an interview, but I think the Colts hire a different coach for 2023.

Like the Panthers, this job is intriguing because of the division Indy resides in. The Houston Texans are still in a rebuild, and the Tennessee Titans may be resetting in more ways than one this offseason. The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the uptick, but they aren’t Super Bowl contenders just yet. The Colts are a better team than their record has indicated over the past few years. It’s the quarterback position that has held them back. The Philip Rivers addition worked out better than I expected, although it was just for one year, but I’m not surprised the fliers on Carson Wentz and Ryan did not work out.