Jan. 8: The hiring is official, per a team announcement.
Jan. 7: The Giants are finalizing a deal to hire Patriots wide receivers/special teams coach Joe Judge as their new head coach, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) reports. This news comes moments after the Panthers hired Matt Rhule, who was believed to be the Giants’ top target.
Interestingly, Schefter hears that the deal was in the works on Monday night, before Rhule shook hands with Carolina brass. That was “another reason” why Rhule accepted the Panthers’ offer, according to Schefter, which indicates that the Baylor head coach might not have been the Giants’ first choice after all.
Before agreeing to a seven-year deal with the Panthers that could be worth up to $70MM, Rhule called the Giants and gave them an opportunity to match the offer, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. When the Giants declined, Rhule 86’d his scheduled interview with the G-Men, and the Giants shifted their focus to Judge.
The Giants considered a whole host of candidates for their head coaching vacancy, as shown in PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, and Cowboys assistant Kris Richard were also on the radar, and the Giants were reportedly seeking an interview with ex-Cowboys HC Jason Garrett. Garrett, apparently, won’t be interviewing for the top job, however – Judge has been tapped as the Giants’ next head coach.
Judge, 38, was being groomed by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick for an even larger role down the line. He also had an opportunity to return to his alma mater, Mississippi State, as their head coach. Ultimately, he chose to become the new head coach of the Giants, replacing the recently-dismissed Pat Shurmur.
Judge joined the Pats in 2012 after a three-year stint as a special teams assistant at Alabama. In 2015, he was elevated to ST coordinator and, in 2019, he was also given the WRs coach title. Although he doesn’t have the star power of the Giants’ other reported candidates, the club believes that he has the right temperament and energy to handle the pressure that comes with the New York market.
Judge becomes the latest Belichick protege to join the head coaching ranks. In the past few years, Mike Vrabel (Titans), Matt Patricia (Lions), and Brian Flores (Dolphins) have all left the nest and climbed the ladder.
The Redskins, Cowboys, Panthers, and Giants have all filled their head coaching vacancies, leaving the Browns as the lone team in search of a new leader. The Browns saw a few of their targets go elsewhere, but, on the plus side, they can now afford to take their time in the search.
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