We learned earlier today that Mike Smith was unlikely to return as coach of the Falcons in 2015, but there are plenty of head coaching candidates for whom the future appears much brighter, along with a number of others who are likely to be relieved of their duties or otherwise on the move. Let’s take a look:
- As we passed along earlier, Bears head coach Marc Trestman is expected to be fired after the season.
- Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is a top head coaching candidate for the Jets and Bears, and the Dolphins have not ruled out a reunion with Bowles.
- Although the University of Michigan apparently has a legitimate chance to land 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh as its next head coach, the Wolverines also have the Ravens‘ John Harbaugh, the Saints‘ Sean Payton, the Bills‘ Doug Marrone, and the Cowboys‘ Jason Garrett on their radar, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Outside of Jim Harbaugh, however, the other named candidates are highly unlikely to appear in maize and blue next year.
- In the same piece, La Canfora writes that Jim Harbaugh briefly accepted the Michigan job in 2011 before changing his mind shortly thereafter.
- Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that UCLA’s Jim Mora and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn are two collegiate coaches whom NFL teams may consider for head coaching vacancies in 2015. Rapoport adds (Twitter links) that he would expect the 49ers to have interest in Mora and the Dolphins to have interest in Malzahn.
- Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that Mike Shanahan has not ruled out a return to coaching in 2015, and Florio lists the Falcons and 49ers as possible destinations. However, Shanahan, who was responsible for drafting Jay Cutler, maintains his belief that Cutler is a franchise quarterback, and the Bears (assuming they hang on to Cutler) may want to pursue Shanahan.