Ch-ch-ch-changes. Two more clubs parted ways with their head coaches, as the Chargers decided to fire Mike McCoy while the 49ers dismissed Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke. San Diego and San Francisco join Buffalo, Denver, Jacksonville, and Los Angeles in the head coaching hunt, and interviews are already taking place, with Josh McDaniels, Kyle Shanahan, Anthony Lynn, and Dave Toub among the most popular candidates. Follow all the latest on the hiring cycle with PFR’s 2017 Head Coaching Search Tracker.
Indy stays the course. While the six clubs above are overhauling their respective coaching staffs, the Colts opted not to do so, announcing that general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano will both return in 2017. Both men signed extensions to remain in Indianapolis last season, but rumors had surfaced indicating that the Colts could redesign their leadership structure. Instead, the club will opt for continuity and hope to contend next year in the AFC South.
Killer Bees likely staying in Pittsburgh. With Ben Roethlisberger under contract for the foreseeable future, the Steelers are turning their attention to the other two key members of their prolific offense. Pittsburgh is likely to use the franchise tag to retain running back Le’Veon Bell, while the club is also interested in working out an extension with running back Antonio Brown, who is under contract for one more season. A long-term deal with Bell is possible even after the franchise tag is used, of course, but if no contract is agreed to, Bell would earn north of $12MM in 2017.
Seahawks add a legendary returner. With primary returner Tyler Lockett sidelined for the rest of the season, Seattle signed one of the all-time greats to fill in for the time being, agreeing to a deal with free agent Devin Hester. Now 34 years old, Hester was released by the Ravens earlier this year and is probably not the top-notch athlete he once was. But he should still be able to add another dimension to the Seahawks’ return game as they continue their run through the postseason.
QB trade on the horizon? Bengals backup quarterback A.J. McCarron received a few starts at the end of the 2015 campaign after Andy Dalton suffered an injury, and now McCarron sounds open to a trade. Outside of Kirk Cousins, the free agent quarterback market is barren, and McCarron could represent an intriguing option for a QB-needy club. Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer, meanwhile, tweeted last week that moving McCarron was part of the Bengals’s offseason “itinerary,” calling it a question of “when” rather than “if” Cincinnati will deal its No. 2 signal-caller.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.