Josh McCown

2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, seven NFL teams opted to make a head coaching change. With Sean Payton stepping away from the Saints, there are now nine full-time vacancies available this year. After Thursday’s news, two of those openings (Denver and Chicago) have been filled, and a major candidate in Dan Quinn has decided to remain in Dallas. Friday saw another name scratched off the list, with the Giants making their HC hire.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-28-21 (6:06pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Texans Giving Josh McCown Second HC Interview

On the Texans’ HC radar for a second straight offseason, Josh McCown is now the team’s first known finalist for the position. The longtime quarterback is in Houston going through a second interview Friday, according to Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter).

While Brian Flores emerged as the early favorite for this job, McCown has gained considerable momentum. The former Texans reserve quarterback is now all in on moving into the coaching ranks. He has yet to hold a full-time NFL coaching role. Flores has since been connected to other jobs. After meeting with Nick Caserio and Co., Flores went through a Giants interview Thursday and has received a request from the Saints.

The Texans met with McCown last week about their HC job, and the Jaguars soon spoke with the near-20-year veteran QB as well. This would be an outside-the-box hire, given McCown’s experience, but it remains firmly in play for the rebuilding franchise. McCown, 42, has been regarded as a future coach for a bit now. The Texans were interested in him for their HC job last year, but McCown was not quite ready to enter the ranks. He is now, injecting additional intrigue into this situation.

The journeyman passer finished his playing career in Houston, when he arrived after residing as a remote Eagles practice squad QB during the 2020 season. McCown did not see any action during Deshaun Watson‘s final year as the Texans’ starter but made an impression on the team. Here is how Houston’s HC search looks at this juncture:

Jaguars Meet With Josh McCown

The Jaguars — who are searching for their next head coach — recently “had a conversation” with Josh McCown, according to Aaron Wilson of SportsTalk790. However, their chat with McCown was not a formal interview for the position. 

[RELATED: Latest On Texans, McCown]

The Texans, meanwhile, seem to be very bullish on McCown as their next HC, despite his lack of experience. Because the longtime quarterback has never coached at the NFL or NCAA level, the Texans are reportedly hoping that other teams will interview McCown. This “conversation” with the Jaguars doesn’t exactly fit the criteria, but it might be enough for GM Nick Caserio to move on McCown, if that is indeed his preferred hire.

McCown, 42, spent the later part of his career as a mentor of young quarterbacks. He is, by all accounts, universally beloved and respected for his leadership qualities and football IQ. However, to date, his only coaching experience has come at the high school level, guiding his sons at Charlotte’s Myers Park High School.

In addition to McCown, the Texans are also weighing ex-Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, Chargers OC Joe Lombardi, Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon, and Rams OC Kevin O’Connell. The Jaguars, as you might expect after the Urban Meyer debacle, are prioritizing experience with this group of candidates:

Latest On Texans, Josh McCown

The Texans are really keen on Josh McCown, despite his lack of coaching experience. With hopes of legitimizing the potential hire, the Texans are hoping that other clubs bring the longtime NFL quarterback in for head coaching interviews, according to a source who spoke with Mike Florio of PFT

McCown has reportedly been on GM Nick Caserio‘s radar for a while, even before/during/after the hiring of David Culley. Of course, Culley lasted just one year in Houston, as his own lack of HC experience seemed to hinder him. Even though McCown is highly respected in the football world, going with another green hire will surely raise some eyebrows. Caserio & Co. may be able to dodge some fan backlash, however, if McCown is considered for vacancies elsewhere.

In addition to McCown, the Texans are also weighing:

McCown, who has been with a dozen pro teams as a player, has never coached at the professional or collegiate level.

Texans Interview Josh McCown For HC Vacancy

An interesting name has emerged in the Texans’ hunt for a new head coach. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), Houston completed an interview with Josh McCown for their head coaching vacancy.

McCown did not see any action with the Texans last season and has not started a game since filling in for Sam Darnold in 2018. However, he did play the bulk of the 2019 Eagles’ wild-card loss to the Seahawks, after Carson Wentz exited. A 2002 draftee, McCown has been with a dozen teams — the Cardinals, Lions, Raiders, Dolphins, Panthers, 49ers, Bears, Buccaneers, Browns, Jets, Eagles and Texans — in his near-two-decade NFL run. He remained unsigned for the entire 2021 campaign.

Recently, McCown has been mentioned as a potential coaching candidate, but it was expected that he’d pay his dues on the sideline before being considered for HC gigs. He was mentioned as a candidate for the Texans job last offseason.

In addition to McCown, the Texans head coaching search includes:

Jets, Jaguars Interested In Josh McCown

The Jets and Jaguars have been keeping tabs on quarterback Josh McCown, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. McCown, who spent time with the Eagles and Texans last season, has been busy coaching his son’s high school team in Texas. 

The 42-year-old has yet to retire from the league, so he could be open to returning at some point. La Canfora hears that the veteran could reemerge by Week 9 or 10, if he finds a suitable situation. Neither the Jets nor the Jaguars profile as contenders at this point, but a winning team could get in the mix if there’s an injury under center.

Long expected to one day move into coaching, McCown served as a de facto assistant for the Eagles last year. Philadelphia added the then-40-year-old passer to its practice squad but, ahead of the league’s initial COVID-19-altered season, used him in a remote capacity. The Texans poached McCown in November of 2020 but released him this past spring.

McCown did not see any action with the Texans last season and has not started a game since filling in for Sam Darnold in 2018. However, he did play the bulk of the 2019 Eagles’ wild-card loss to the Seahawks, after Carson Wentz exited.

A 2002 draftee, McCown has been with a dozen teams — the Cardinals, Lions, Raiders, Dolphins, Panthers, 49ers, Bears, Buccaneers, Browns, Jets, Eagles and Texans — in his near-two-decade NFL run.

Texans Release QB Josh McCown

The Texans will move on from Josh McCown as a player, with Field Yates of ESPN.com tweeting the team released the backup quarterback Monday. However, this move appears likely to precede a coaching career.

Despite adding McCown midway through last season, the Texans signed him two a two-year deal. They also took the unusual step in interviewing him for their head coaching job. Even after David Culley‘s hire, McCown loomed on the Texans’ radar for an assistant coaching gig. This transition could occur soon.

Long expected to one day move into coaching, McCown served as a de facto assistant for the Eagles last year. Philadelphia added the then-40-year-old passer to its practice squad but, ahead of the league’s initial COVID-19-altered season, used him in a remote capacity. McCown was living in Texas while on the Eagles’ practice squad. The Texans poached McCown in November.

McCown did not see any action with the Texans last season and has not started a game since doing so in relief of Sam Darnold in three games with the 2018 Jets. But he did play the bulk of the 2019 Eagles’ wild-card loss to the Seahawks, after Carson Wentz‘s early-game injury.

A 2002 draftee, the 41-year-old QB has been with 12 teams — the Cardinals, Lions, Raiders, Dolphins, Panthers, 49ers, Bears, Buccaneers, Browns, Jets, Eagles and Texans — in his near-two-decade NFL run. McCown’s Bears stay, which included a productive 2013 stretch filling in for an injured Jay Cutler, reignited his career and led to multiple additional starting opportunities. The Texans may not let him get to a 13th NFL team to start his coaching career, but it is not yet certain where that run will begin.

Texans Eyeing Lovie Smith, Josh McCown For Staff

The Texans’ quarterback situation is in flux, but their staff is coming together, at least. After agreeing to hire David Culley as their new head coach, the Texans are now eyeing former Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith and longtime NFL quarterback Josh McCown for assistant coaching roles (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com). 

[RELATED: Deshaun Watson Officially Requests Trade]

Smith seems to be the team’s leading candidate for the defensive coordinator vacancy. McCown, meanwhile, would help out on the other side of the ball, though it doesn’t sound like he’d jump straight to offensive coordinator. That job, barring any changes, will continue to be occupied by offensive coordinator Tim Kelly. Kelly has drawn interest from around the league, but the Texans have denied every interview request.

McCown & Co. will have the unenviable task of remaking the offense without Deshaun Watson under center. The Texans were hoping to work things out, but his mind is made up — the QB wants a trade, and he appears to be targeting the Jets or Dolphins as his landing spot. Watson is uniquely positioned to dictate his destination, thanks to his no-trade clause.

On defense, the Texans could do the unthinkable and part ways with edge rusher J.J. Watt. The face of the franchise has one year to go on his deal with a $17.5MM cap hit. If the Texans are truly looking to reboot things, they could trade their two biggest stars to replenish their depleted draft stock.

Eagles Hire Jonathan Gannon As DC; Latest On OC Search

The Eagles have hired Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon as their new defensive coordinator, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Albert Breer of SI.com reported yesterday that Gannon had emerged as the favorite for the job and that all signs were pointing towards a union between him and Philadelphia (Twitter link).

Both Rapoport and Breer classify Gannon as a coveted addition, with Breer noting that the former Colts staffer had multiple coordinator offers. We knew that both the Chargers and the Bears were considering Gannon, and it’s possible that those two clubs extended him offers, along with the Eagles.

Of course, Gannon may have chosen the Eagles because of his familiarity with new Philadelphia head coach Nick Sirianni, who served as the Colts’ OC over the past three seasons. Sirianni was clearly a fan of Gannon’s work, as he was a key part of a staff that helped turn Indianapolis’ defense into one of the league’s top units over the past several seasons. Under Gannon’s watch, cornerback Xavier Rhodes revived his career in 2020, while fellow CB Kenny Moore and safety Khari Willis also turned in strong seasons.

Meanwhile, Sirianni is acting quickly to fill out the rest of his staff. Mike Klis of 9News.com reports that the Eagles are meeting with Broncos RB coach Curtis Modkins about their OC opening, while Rapoport notes that the club is also interviewing Chargers OC Shane Steichen (Twitter links).

Modkins is the more experienced of the two, having served as running backs coach or offensive coordinator with seven different NFL teams since 2008. But Steichen is at least partially credited for Justin Herbert‘s terrific rookie season in Los Angeles in 2020, and he and Sirianni did work together on the Chargers’ offensive staff from 2014-17.

In related news, the Eagles considered interviewing Josh McCown for their head coaching position before hiring Sirianni, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. McCown, who is now under consideration for the Texans’ HC job, impressed Eagles brass with his leadership skills and football acumen during his recent stint as a Philadelphia quarterback, and the club believes he has what it takes to be an NFL coach.

But the fact that he had no coaching experience of any kind led the Eagles to move in a different direction.

Texans Interview Jim Caldwell, Josh McCown For HC Job

The NFL’s last remaining head coaching search took another interesting turn Friday. While the Texans have contacted former Colts and Lions HC Jim Caldwell about their vacancy, they also announced they spoke with Josh McCown about the opening Friday as well.

This marks Caldwell’s second interview for the job. The former Lions and Colts HC spoke with the Texans in December, but the team’s search took on a different tone after Nick Caserio‘s GM hire.

McCown began this season with Eagles, residing as the NFL’s oldest practice squad player and operating as a remote emergency quarterback, but signed with the Texans in November. The 41-year-old QB would be one of the most unorthodox choices in modern NFL history, but the Texans are exploring the prospect of hiring McCown and pairing him with at least one former head coach, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

The 19-year veteran has been viewed as a future coach and is interesting under contract with the Texans through 2021. The team viewed the well-regarded backup as a culture-type signing and a player who could help as a coach immediately after retirement. This would certainly spark debate, however. While players jumping straight into HC roles has happened in the NBA — like Jason Kidd or Derek Fisher — McCown would be a controversial hire considering the NFL’s current imbalance between white and minority head coaches.

McCown’s previous plan was to spend time watching his sons play football after retirement. A leap into a head coaching position would certainly change his schedule. And making such a move before gaining any experience as an assistant would represent a risk for McCown. That said, the 49ers hired John Lynch as GM without experience and paired him with Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers won the NFC in that regime’s third year. Of course, this backfired with Matt Millen in Detroit.

A McCown hire would run beyond the “outside the box” label, but this is now something to monitor for a Texans team that began the week interviewing popular HC candidate Eric Bieniemy. The Texans remain interested in Colts DC Matt Eberflus, whom the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin notes (via Twitter) is a frontrunner for the job. Houston has interviewed eight candidates for the position. Eberflus initially declined an interview request but met with Nick Caserio and Co. on Sunday.

Caldwell (feat. Peyton Manning) coached the Colts to a Super Bowl in his first season as Indianapolis’ HC but was out of a job after his third. Caldwell elevated the Lions to a playoff berth in his first year with Detroit in 2014 but was fired after a 9-7 2017 season. The 66-year-old coach experienced a health issue that caused him to step away from his post as Dolphins QBs coach in 2019, but he is back to full health and would certainly represent an experienced right-hand man for McCown or another younger coach.