Chiefs Rumors

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers’ hire, this year’s vacancy count sits at four. Last year’s Saints and Buccaneers moves, however, showed these job openings can emerge at unexpected points.

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

Updated 1-26-23 (4:36pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Commanders, Ravens Interested In Eric Bieniemy For OC

A key talking point each January, Eric Bieniemy‘s head coaching candidacy has tapered off in recent years. Despite Matt Nagy and Doug Pederson landing HC jobs from Andy Reid‘s Chiefs staff, Bieniemy has been stuck at the coordinator level. Only one team — the Colts — has interviewed him for its HC post this year.

Others remain interested in the five-year Chiefs OC for a lateral move. The Commanders and Ravens are the latest rumored to want an OC meeting with Bieniemy, Aaron Wilson of KPRC tweets. The Indianapolis HC path remains in play for Bieniemy, but similar avenues have repeatedly closed for the longtime Reid lieutenant over the past several years.

The Commanders and Ravens jobs are not classified as lateral moves, since each position would come with full play-calling responsibilities. Thus, the Chiefs cannot block Bieniemy from an interview. Reid has been Kansas City’s primary play-caller throughout his 10-year Missouri stay, and the top-tier HC receives the bulk of the credit for Patrick Mahomes submitting arguably the greatest early-career resume in quarterback history. Bieniemy has been Kansas City’s OC throughout Mahomes’ run as the team’s starter, but after extensive interest emerged early during his time in this job, the league has cooled on him.

Bieniemy, 53, signed an extension with the Chiefs last year and has not been closely connected to other OC jobs prior to this month. It would be bring somewhat of a risk to leave the Reid-Mahomes infrastructure the Chiefs provide, but Bieniemy having success as a play-caller could also finally break down the door to a top job. Ex-Chiefs QBs coach Mike Kafka is now on the HC radar, after becoming the Giants’ play-caller. Mahomes is ticketed to win a second MVP award and has powered the Chiefs to a fifth straight AFC championship game, doing so this time without Tyreek Hill.

Washington has seen multiple options — Jim Caldwell and Darrell Bevellturn down the chance to interview. Ron Rivera‘s hot-seat status also complicates this season, since the OC role has a greater chance of being a one-and-done here than it does in most places. Many around the league expect, for this reason, the Commanders to promote quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese to replace Scott Turner, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Baltimore has also begun its interviews to replace Greg Roman. While Bieniemy, Frank Reich and Byron Leftwich have been linked to the position, none has been confirmed as an interviewee just yet.

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spins, many of the league’s offensive and defensive coordinator positions are open as well. Teams seeking new head coaches will soon begin OC and DC searches — some have already started those processes — but a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

The Browns and Patriots have begun 2023’s coordinator hires. Here are the rest of the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 1-26-23 (10:06pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Carolina Panthers 

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

Jim Irsay Still Pushing For Jeff Saturday Hire; Eric Bieniemy, Raheem Morris In Mix

The Colts lost seven of their final eight games, finishing 4-12-1. The team had not lost seven games to close out a campaign since its inaugural season in 1953. But Jim Irsay still looks to be pushing to keep Jeff Saturday, the interim head coach he stunned the NFL by hiring in November.

Saturday is going through his second interview Wednesday, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, who adds as many as seven candidates will advance to the second round of interviews (Twitter link). That list includes Ejiro Evero, and ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano tweets Rams DC Raheem Morris will receive an in-person meeting. The Colts held virtual interviews with 13 candidates — the most of any HC-seeking team this year — but Irsay was not involved in those sessions. He will be there for the second interviews.

Irsay said in November he hoped Saturday would stay on as a full-time HC, and although no team has made an interim coach a full-time hire since the Jaguars removed Doug Marrone‘s interim tag in 2017, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson notes Irsay is still pushing for Saturday. More pushback has emerged, however. Just as Irsay confidants attempted to dissuade him from hiring Saturday two months ago, Anderson adds (via Twitter) those close to the owner are again attempting to convince him Saturday is the wrong choice.

Indianapolis should also be expected to meet with Eric Bieniemy and special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone for a second time. Each remains in the mix, Graziano adds, though no second interviews with either have been scheduled. Bieniemy has generated extensive OC interest around the league, being connected to open jobs and likely on the radar for some that will soon be available, but ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes the longtime Chiefs OC is focused on potential HC gigs. Only the Colts, however, have interviewed him for their job.

Some around the league believe this will come down to Bieniemy or Saturday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk adds. Considering the backlash both the Saturday hire and Bieniemy’s extended time on the HC carousel have each generated, the Colts choosing Saturday in that instance would create more controversy.

Andy Reid has been the Chiefs’ primary play-caller since 2013, and while Bieniemy has been labeled as a poor interviewer at points during his long run as Reid’s right-hand man, the fifth-year OC has been in place in this role throughout Patrick Mahomes‘ QB1 stay. Considering Mahomes is about to win a second MVP award and will do so after the Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill, that should reflect well on Bieniemy. Judging by the Arizona, Carolina, Denver and Houston searches, however, teams are not closely connecting the Reid lieutenant to such success. Bieniemy and Colts GM Chris Ballard worked together during the latter’s time in the Chiefs’ front office, though Fowler adds the Saturday-Irsay relationship continues to loom over this process.

Ballard ran the first set of Colts HC interviews, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes, adding that Carlie Irsay-Gordon (Jim’s daughter) has played a key role throughout this process as well. Ballard attempted to talk Irsay out of the Saturday hire in November and admitted as much this month. It should be expected the seventh-year GM will keep pushing for a different hire, but Irsay obviously will make the final call. This process should drag into next week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (video link).

Saturday promised extensive changes if he were to land the full-time job. He offered ex-Frank Reich staffers Scott Milanovich and Scottie Montgomery OC duties, but each turned down the job. That led to assistant quarterbacks coach Parks Frazier receiving the opportunity. The Colts started three QBs during Saturday’s stay (Matt Ryan, Nick Foles, Sam Ehlinger) but only won one game under interim coach. The team’s NFL-record collapse in Minnesota and other shaky performances did not exactly give Saturday momentum coming out of the season. If Irsay bucks staffers’ advice and goes in this direction again, it would make for one of the most interesting decisions in coaching history.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/24/23

Today’s minor transactions:

Cincinnati Bengals

Lammons was a special teams ace for the Chiefs, leading the team in ST snaps and finishing the regular season with seven tackles. He earned his walking papers the other day with the Chiefs preparing to activate at least one of running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire or tight end Jody Fortson. The Bengals swooped in with the claim, but the team won’t get any immediate intel on their AFC Championship opponent. The claim is deferred until February 13, which means the only competitive advantage Cincy got was preventing Lammons from rejoining Kansas City’s practice squad.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/23/23

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Jets

Mullen was a second-round pick by the Raiders back in 2019. Despite starting 31 of his 37 appearances through his first three seasons in the NFL, he was traded to the Cardinals for a seventh-round pick prior to the 2022 campaign. He got into eight games for Arizona before getting waived, and he caught on with the Cowboys in December. The 25-year-old won’t officially join Baltimore until the day after the Super Bowl (February 13).

Injured Reserve Return Tracker

After two years of giving teams free rein on injured reserve transactions, the NFL reinstated limitations this offseason. Teams can now activate up to eight players from injured reserve. That has reintroduced some strategy into how franchises are proceeding with their activations.

Players who were carried over to 53-man rosters after cutdown day must reside on their respective injured list for at least four weeks. Once a team designates a player for return, meaning the player returns to practice, the activation clock starts. Teams have 21 days from those return-to-practice points to activate that player. If no activation commences in that window, the player reverts to season-ending IR.

Here is how the eight remaining teams’ IR situations stack up for the championship round:

Cincinnati Bengals

Eligible for activation:

Activations remaining: 4

Kansas City Chiefs

Designated for return:

Activations remaining: 5

Philadelphia Eagles

Designated for return:

Eligible for activation:

Activations remaining: 1

San Francisco 49ers

Activations remaining: 0

Ravens Request OC Interview With Vikings’ Brian Angelichio

The Ravens continue to cast a wide net in search of their new offensive play caller. In addition to considering Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson, Browns wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea, and Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales, Baltimore has requested to interview Vikings passing game coordinator and tight ends coach Brian Angelichio, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Angelichio has been a tight ends coach in the league since 2012 when he followed Greg Schiano from Rutgers to the Buccaneers. Since then, he’s had some bad luck finding head coaches who have stayed in their jobs long term, bouncing around to Cleveland, Green Bay, Washington, and Carolina before his most recent position in Minnesota. Angelichio joined the Vikings’ staff this year with first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell, who granted him the new added moniker of passing game coordinator.

Angelichio has a few notable coaching performances on his resume. In 2015, he coached veteran tight end Gary Barnidge to a career 1,043-yard season in which he caught nine touchdowns. He’s also coached some of the NFL’s best recent tight ends, overseeing Jimmy Graham with the Packers as well as Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis in Washington. With Angelichio as passing game coordinator, the Vikings ranked fifth in the NFL in passing yards gained and tied for fourth in the league in passing touchdowns this year.

Angelichio has now had his name added to the ever-growing list of candidates to become the Ravens’ new offensive coordinator, alongside Robinson, O’Shea, and Canales. Fowler added that there are a number of other names he’s hearing as potential candidates including former Colts head coach Frank Reich, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, and former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

In addition to the many outside candidates, the Ravens also have at least two in-house candidates in wide receivers coach Tee Martin and quarterbacks coach James Urban. Martin is a recent addition to the NFL coaching ranks, joining the Ravens in 2021 after years as a passing game coordinator and play caller for multiple Power 5 programs in college football. Urban has been with the team since 2018, coaching Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson since his rookie season. He’s never called plays, but he’s been in the NFL since 2004 and worked alongside Ravens head coach John Harbaugh for much of that time.

Baltimore is doing its due diligence with its search for a new offensive play caller. The team has doubled down on their intent to center the offense around Jackson, going as far as to allow him as much input into the coaching search as possible. Angelichio becomes one of many names for Jackson, Harbaugh, and company to consider.

Patrick Mahomes Suffers High Ankle Sprain

The Chiefs qualified for their fifth consecutive AFC title game yesterday, but the top story leading into next week’s game (regardless of their opponent or its location) will be the health status of their star quarterback. Patrick Mahomes missed time due to an ankle injury midway through Kansas City’s win over Jacksonville, and underwent further testing today.

An MRI has revealed that Mahomes is dealing with a high ankle sprain (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Schefter). The latter further reports that the injury is “nothing more than that,” however, meaning that his availability for the conference title game will simply be a matter of pain tolerance. In the immediate aftermath of the game, Mahomes confidently said (via Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, on Twitter) that he would be “good to go” next Sunday. USA Today’s Tyler Dragon tweets, unsurprisingly, that he is indeed expected to play.

The 27-year-old was sidelined briefly after suffering the injury. In his absence, Kansas City turned to veteran Chad Henne under center for 13 snaps; in that time, he completed five of seven passes, including a touchdown. Mahomes was then able to return and finish out the game, one in which he was clearly playing at far less than 100% but still managed to put up efficient production (195 yards and a pair of scores on 22-of-30 passing).

The 2018 MVP is likely to add a second such title to his decorated resume this year, underscoring his importance to the Chiefs as a Super Bowl contender but also how crippling his injury could be, depending on its severity. Mobility has always been a key element of his skillset, so being limited on that front would have a significant effect on his level of play and, in all likelihood, Kansas City’s offensive gameplan.

More will be known as the week progresses with respect to Mahomes’ level of participation in practice. The extent of his recovery will no doubt be a major talking point in the coming days, as it could go a long way in determining the AFC’s representative in next month’s Super Bowl.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/20/23

Standard gameday elevations for tomorrow’s playoff games:

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles