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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 1-30-23 (7:00pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Dallas Cowboys (Out: Kellen Moore)

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 

  • Vic Fangio, former head coach (Broncos): Interviewed
  • Marquand Manuel, safeties coach (Jets): Interviewed
  • Kris Richard, co-defensive coordinator (Saints): Interviewed

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

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 four remaining teams’ IR situations stack up for the championship round:

Cincinnati Bengals

Eligible for activation:

Activations remaining: 4

Kansas City Chiefs

Designated for return:

Activated:

Activations remaining: 4

Philadelphia Eagles

Designated for return:

Eligible for activation:

Activations remaining: 1

San Francisco 49ers

Activations remaining: 0

This Date In Transactions History: Nathaniel Hackett Joins Jaguars Staff

Nathaniel Hackett was once again in the news this week when the Jets announced that they hired him as their new offensive coordinator. The coach was also in the news eight years ago today when he surprised many by joining the Jaguars’ staff.

[RELATED: Jets Hire Nathaniel Hackett As OC]

Besides quality control roles with the Buccaneers and Bills, Hackett mostly cut his teeth in collegiate football, culminating in him becoming Syracuse’s offensive coordinator. It was there that Hackett developed a strong relationship with Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone.

When Marrone was hired as the Bills’ head coach, he brought along Hackett to serve as his offensive coordinator. During his time in Buffalo, Hackett proved that he was able to run a competent running offense. However, thanks in part to the limitations of quarterbacks EJ Manuel, Thad Lewis, and Jeff Tuel, the passing offense struggled. Kyle Orton made the unit more respectable during the 2014 campaign, but it wasn’t enough to prevent changes in Buffalo.

Marrone decided to head to the Jaguars as their assistant head coach for the 2015 season. This left Buffalo’s staff without a secure gig moving forward, but it sounded like Hackett was going to land on his feet relatively quickly. The coach emerged as a favorite for the Rams offensive coordinator gig; this was partly due to his pedigree but was also due to St. Louis missing out on some of their top targets.

However, instead of taking the Rams job, Hackett surprised many when he revealed on January 28, 2015 that he’d be heading to Jacksonville with Marrone. Hackett was named the Jaguars quarterbacks coach, a role he held for a year-plus. Marrone found himself as interim head coach following the firing of Gus Bradley in 2016, and Hackett was promoted to OC when Greg Olson also earned his walking papers. During Hackett’s first full season as offensive coordinator in 2017, the Jaguars offense surprisingly emerged as one of the top units in the NFL with quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Leonard Fournette leading the way. That offense regressed in 2018, and Marrone surprised many when he fired Hackett following a 3-8 start to the year.

Hackett once again landed on his feet. The following offseason, he was hired as offensive coordinator in Green Bay. The Packers were the best offense in 2020, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers won back-to-back MVPs with Hackett at the helm. Thanks to his performance, Hackett finally got his chance to become a head coach when he was hired by the Broncos last offseason.

We all know how that went. The Broncos were perhaps the biggest disappointment of the 2022 season, and Hackett was canned before he was able to complete his first season as head coach. While the coach clearly lost some of his shine during the 2022 campaign, it didn’t stop him from finding a new gig. Earlier this week, the Jets announced that they hired Hackett as their new offensive coordinator.

Hackett truly made a name for himself when he took a surprising Jaguars offense to the AFC Championship in 2017. Had Hackett instead decided to take the St. Louis job (vs. taking the Jacksonville gig on this date in 2015), his career could look a whole lot different than it does today.

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 1-30-23 (5:15pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

2023 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

So far this offseason, only two NFL presented general manager vacancies. The Cardinals and Titans have now each made their choices. If other teams decide to make GM changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-17-23 (4:27pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Tennessee Titans

Poll: What Will Bears Do With No. 1 Pick?

The Bears enter the offseason with a plethora of needs to fill out their roster, but an intriguing array of means with respect to augmenting it in the months ahead. One of those, of course, is the first overall pick in this spring’s draft.

For much of the campaign, it appeared the top slot would ultimately go to the Texans. However, a last-minute, come-from-behind victory during Lovie Smith’s final game with Houston helped his former team secure the No. 1 selection. Chicago only remained in the running to ‘win’ the race to the bottom of the standings, though, due to a franchise-worst 10-game losing streak to close out the season.

The Bears’ 3-14 record came as little surprise, given the team’s clear intentions of pursuing a multi-year rebuild under new general manager Ryan Poles. That included several veteran defenders heading elsewhere via trades or releases before and/or during the season as a means of clearing up cap space. That strategy has left the team with by far the most spending power in the league ahead of free agency.

After a number of high-end additions are presumably made in March, Poles and his staff will be tasked with determining their course of action with the No. 1 pick. Retaining the selection would enable them to bolster their defense with, for instance, Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. Long considered a candidate for the top spot in this class’ rankings, he could provide a considerable boost to a pass rush which finished last in the NFL in sacks with only 20.

Alternatively, the Bears could turn to Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter at the top of the board. Chicago surrendered an average of 157 rushing yards per game in 2022, the second-worst mark in the league. Carter would help improve the team’s front seven both in that department, and as an interior pass-rusher as they look to rebuild their front seven. Opinion is split on which out of Anderson or Carter grades out as the best prospect, but either one would be considered a foundational piece for the Bears for years to come.

The situation is complicated, however, by the presence of Bryce Young. The 2021 Heisman winner had another productive season with the Crimson Tide this year, putting him squarely in contention to hear his name called first on draft night – particularly if the QB-needy Texans had finished the year with the No. 1 pick. Chicago having that luxury adds to their possible moves to build for the future.

Drafting Young could give the franchise a long-term answer at the position, though Justin Fields showed signs of being able to do just that in his second NFL season. The 2021 first-rounder – whom Chicago’s previous regime traded up to draft – produced the second-most single-season rushing yards by a signal-caller in league history. At age 23 and with at least two more years of team control on his rookie contract (with the potential of another, via the fifth-year option), the Ohio State product would represent a logical candidate to be retained for the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, Fields took a league-leading 55 sacks despite not playing a full campaign. He also led the NFL’s lowest-ranked passing attack, though the Bears’ weaknesses along the offensive line and distinct lack of proven pass-catchers certainly contributed to that as well. Questions regarding Fields’ upside as a passer could be made irrelevant from Chicago’s perspective if they become convinced Young (or another QB prospect) is worth taking first overall, an outcome which Poles recently downplayed the likelihood of.

“We’re going to do the same as we’ve always done – we’re going to evaluate the draft class,” he said last week“and I would say this: I would have to be absolutely blown away to make that type of decision.”

The other option the Bears have, of course, is trading out of the top slot to add more draft capital now and (potentially) next year as well. Such a move has not been seen since 2016, but if it were to happen, it would once again take place to pave the way for a team to guarantee they landed their desired quarterback. The Texans, armed with a second first-round pick, could be a candidate to move up one spot, but the Colts could be another after they made clear their willingness to be aggressive in adding at the position.

A move down the board would extend the Bears’ streak to 77 years without making the draft’s first selection, but it would allow them to increase their draft capital considerably. Chicago currently only owns three picks in the top 100 – a smaller figure than one may expect given their rebuilding status, but also one owing in part to the team’s trade deadline acquisition of wideout Chase Claypool. A trade keeping them in the top 10 of the first round order would take them out of contention for Anderson or Carter, but place them in good position to add another high-end talent, particularly one of the class’ top offensive tackles.

Which path do you see the Bears taking with the No. 1 pick? Have your say by voting in the poll below and weighing in via the comments section:

Free Agent Stock Watch: Geno Smith

With the Seahawks’ season now over, attention will turn away from the team’s surprising trip to the playoffs and towards an offseason filled with questions at the quarterback position. Geno Smith played his way into a significant raise in 2023, but whether he will remain in Seattle will be a key storyline.

Smith, 32, flamed out as the Jets’ starter after two seasons in New York. That span was followed by six straight campaigns spent as a backup, the role he was expected to remain in for the duration of his NFL career. His play while briefly filling in for Russell Wilson in 2021 made it unsurprising that he was brought back on a one-year deal this past offseason, but the base value of that contract ($3.5MM) made the team’s intentions clear.

It was former Bronco Drew Lock – part of the package Denver sent Seattle in the blockbuster Wilson trade – who was expected to earn the No. 1 spot over the course of the summer. Instead, Smith won out the training camp competition, and quickly rewarded the Seahawks for putting their trust in him. By Week 6, it was reported that a full-time commitment to the West Virginia alum could be in the cards.

Smith generally continued his impressive play throughout the season, one in which the Seahawks were able to clinch the NFC’s final playoff spot during Week 18 despite expectations being tempered considerably in the wake of Wilson’s (and All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner’s) absence. Smith led the league in completion percentage (69.8%), throwing for a franchise-record 4,282 yards along the way. His performance earned him a Pro Bowl nod and allowed him to double his earnings through incentives. That $7MM price tag will surely be comfortably exceeded in free agency – something the veteran is acutely aware of.

“Football is a business,” Smith said prior to today’s 41-23 loss to the 49ers, via ESPN’s Brady Henderson“A lot of people have a lot of decisions to make, and that’s where I’ll leave it at. I feel great about where I stand with this organization and my teammates and everybody else, but it’s always a business first. So I look at it like that. I understand that, and I’ve got to handle my business as well.”

The Seahawks currently rank in the top-five in the league in terms of 2023 cap space after transitioning to a younger core at most positions. That has them well-positioned to absorb a new deal for Smith carrying a significant raise, but it could also pave the way for a contract keeping Lock in the Emerald City for the short- or medium-term future. Head coach Pete Carroll routinely praised the 26-year-old upon his arrival, despite his underwhelming tenure with the Broncos. Lock is also a pending UFA, though his market will be clouded by having sat as Smith’s backup all season.

In any event, the Seahawks have reportedly been convinced by Smith’s performance to commit to him on a new contract. An alternative, especially in light of his unique rise back to a starter’s role after years as a No. 2, could be a franchise or transition tag, which Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network confirms is a real possibility (video link). Where Smith’s next deal comes from – and what form it takes – will certainly be worth watching over the coming weeks.

For what it’s worth, Smith himself said after the ‘Hawks wildcard round loss to the 49ers that he wants to finish his career in Seattle and that he expects to be back with the team in 2023 (via Henderson).

Updated 2023 NFL Draft Order

Some fireworks came in regarding the draft order on the NFL’s final regular-season day. The Bears upended the Texans for the No. 1 pick, reeling in a team that held that top slot for much of the season. The Bears last made a pick at No. 1 overall in 1947. Their former head coach — Lovie Smith, whom the Texans just fired — oversaw this final-day flip-flop. Clarity on the rest of the non-playoff-bound teams’ draft slots emerged as well.

The Jaguars’ rally to win the AFC South moves them into a postseason spot, and the Titans’ seven-game losing streak to end the season drops them to their highest selection since 2017. Tennessee’s next general manager will have the opportunity to make a pick at No. 11 or deal from that draft position, while Jacksonville will hold its lowest selection since 2018. The Texans will hold two top-12 picks in April, thanks to the Browns’ Week 18 loss to the Steelers, while the Lions will have two in the top 20 as well.

For non-playoff teams, the draft order will be determined by the inverted 2022 standings — plus a series of tiebreakers, starting with strength of schedule — with playoff squads being slotted by their postseason outcome and regular-season record. Here is how the draft order looks at the regular season’s close:

  1. Chicago Bears: 3-14
  2. Houston Texans: 3-13-1
  3. Arizona Cardinals: 4-13
  4. Indianapolis Colts: 4-12-1
  5. Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos)
  6. Detroit Lions (via Rams)
  7. Las Vegas Raiders: 6-11
  8. Atlanta Falcons: 7-10
  9. Carolina Panthers: 7-10
  10. Philadelphia Eagles (via Saints)
  11. Tennessee Titans: 7-10
  12. Houston Texans (via Browns)
  13. New York Jets: 7-10
  14. New England Patriots: 8-9
  15. Green Bay Packers: 8-9
  16. Washington Commanders: 8-8-1
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-8
  18. Detroit Lions: 9-8
  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8-9
  20. Seattle Seahawks: 9-8
  21. Jacksonville Jaguars: 9-8
  22. New York Giants: 9-7-1
  23. Baltimore Ravens: 10-7
  24. Los Angeles Chargers: 10-7
  25. Dallas Cowboys: 12-5
  26. Cincinnati Bengals: 12-4
  27. Minnesota Vikings: 13-4
  28. Denver Broncos (via 49ers)
  29. Buffalo Bills: 13-3
  30. Kansas City Chiefs: 14-3
  31. Philadelphia Eagles: 14-3

This year’s draft will feature a 31-pick first round. The Dolphins’ penalty for the Tom BradySean Payton tampering scandal cost them their 2023 first-round choice

Updated 2023 NFL Draft Order

As the NFL determines how it will proceed with the postponed Bills-Bengals game, Week 18 is on as scheduled. The No. 1 overall pick remains in doubt, and seven teams enter the final week either 6-10 or 7-9. Several games will impact how the top 10 shakes out.

Having lost nine straight, the Bears (3-13) are a half-game behind the Texans (2-13-1) for the No. 1 overall pick. Houston last held that draft slot in 2014, while Chicago has not picked first since 1947. The Texans are also playing a Colts team they tied in Week 1; Indianapolis enters Week 18 on a six-game skid. Conversely, the Bears face a Vikings squad that still has a path to the NFC’s No. 2 seed.

Week 17 also brought clarity on the NFC South. Although the Buccaneers have disappointed, their comeback win over the Panthers secured the franchise’s third straight playoff berth. That will mean Tampa Bay’s pick will check in no higher than 18th overall, while the Carolina and New Orleans slots could land in the top 10. The loser of Saturday’s Jaguars-Titans game would also see their draft slot rise several positions. Four of the five traded picks remain in the top 12, with the Seahawks’ spot (via the Broncos) still slotting highest — behind only the Texans and Bears’ positions.

For non-playoff teams, the draft order will be determined by the inverted 2022 standings — plus a series of tiebreakers, starting with strength of schedule — with playoff squads being slotted by their postseason outcome and regular-season record. Here is how the draft order looks entering Week 18:

  1. Houston Texans: 2-13-1
  2. Chicago Bears: 3-13
  3. Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos)
  4. Arizona Cardinals: 4-12
  5. Indianapolis Colts: 4-11-1
  6. Detroit Lions (via Rams)
  7. Atlanta Falcons: 6-10
  8. Las Vegas Raiders: 6-10
  9. Carolina Panthers: 6-10
  10. Philadelphia Eagles (via Saints)
  11. Tennessee Titans: 7-9
  12. Houston Texans (via Browns)
  13. New York Jets: 7-9
  14. Washington Commanders: 7-8-1
  15. Pittsburgh Steelers: 8-8
  16. Green Bay Packers: 8-8
  17. Detroit Lions: 8-8
  18. Seattle Seahawks: 8-8
  19. Jacksonville Jaguars: 8-8
  20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8-8
  21. New England Patriots: 8-8
  22. New York Giants: 9-6-1
  23. Baltimore Ravens: 10-6
  24. Los Angeles Chargers: 10-6
  25. Cincinnati Bengals: 11-4
  26. Minnesota Vikings: 12-4
  27. Dallas Cowboys: 12-4
  28. Denver Broncos (via 49ers)
  29. Buffalo Bills: 12-3
  30. Kansas City Chiefs: 13-3
  31. Philadelphia Eagles: 13-3

Poll: Which Team Will Add Derek Carr In 2023?

Wednesday’s unusual development — Derek Carr leaving the Raiders following the news of his benching — makes it fairly clear the sides are expecting to part ways soon. This opens the door for the first full-fledged search for a new Raiders starter since they selected Carr in Round 2 in 2014, and it moves a proven quarterback to the trade block.

The Raiders backed away from trading Carr in the past, and the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo saga this year shows how presuming a separation can be premature. But it certainly looks like the Raiders plan to move Carr. There will be interested teams, but the acquiring franchise would need to pick up a $40.4MM guarantee and prove appealing enough Carr would waive his no-trade clause. Where will the 31-year-old passer end up?

A few teams will be searching for a quarterback after acquiring one last year, but some parties will be those that sat out the 2022 carousel. The Jets figure to be a Carr suitor. They have seen their 2021 investment — No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson — bomb during his two-season run as a primary starter. The defense the Jets rebuilt this offseason no longer gives Wilson a lengthy NFL onramp, and the BYU product may not be ready even with the benefit of a long runway. With Wilson perhaps on the way out midway through his rookie deal, the Jets adding Carr’s through-2025 contract would make sense.

We broached this subject upon Wilson’s initial benching last month, and it would put the Jets — who employ ex-49ers OC Mike LaFleur as their play-caller — to an interesting decision. Going after Carr in February would cut off a LaFleur-Garoppolo reunion in March. While Garoppolo’s checkered health history may now place him behind Carr in teams’ hierarchies, the former has extensive familiarity with LaFleur.

Carr, 31, becoming available also complicates the Giants’ path. They have seen a solid season from Daniel Jones, with the Dave Gettleman-era investment working with a bottom-tier receiving corps to lead the team to the playoff precipice. With a more proven option available, would the Joe SchoenBrian Daboll duo preemptively nix Jones negotiations by trading for Carr? If Jones leads the Giants to the playoffs, the prospect of seeing him with better receivers in 2023 — though, at a much higher price — would seemingly be interesting, and he is six years younger than Carr.

Tom BradyRaiders rumors may be relentless over the next several weeks, provided the legendary passer does not actually retire this time around. The current expectation, barring retirement, is for Brady to leave the Buccaneers to finish his career. This would open a spot for a veteran quarterback to pair with a Super Bowl nucleus, albeit one that has, particularly on offense, underwhelmed to an alarming degree this season. The Bucs were in the quarterback market during Brady’s first retirement, but timing also may rule them out of the Carr sweepstakes. A Carr move in February — a month before Brady’s free agency — would lead arguably the greatest quarterback ever out of town. That would be quite the strange ending to this memorable Bucs chapter.

If Carson Wentz‘s comeback does not produce a Commanders playoff berth, he could well be on the move for a third straight offseason. Washington can cut bait free of charge. This franchise has searched for QB continuity ever since the Kirk Cousins franchise tag years, having entered six straight seasons with a new starter. Carr, who has missed two regular-season games due to injury in his career, would provide that.

He would also cost more than Wentz, who remains attached to a $32MM-per-year Eagles extension he inked in 2019. Wentz is tied to just $20MM and $21MM base salaries over the next two years. Carr’s deal includes future bases of $32.9MM (guaranteed in a trade), $41.9MM ($7.5MM of which would be guaranteed) and $41.2MM. The Commanders employ Jack Del Rio, who coached Carr for three seasons, as defensive coordinator.

The Saints traded their 2023 first-round pick to the Eagles and ditched their original 2022 QB plan early this season. Benching Jameis Winston for Andy Dalton has not moved the needle in terms of wins, though Pro Football Focus surprisingly rates Dalton as a top-five QB this season. Dalton’s deal expires at season’s end. New Orleans, per usual, resides 32nd in terms of projected 2023 cap space. The Saints sit $53.9MM over the projected 2023 salary ceiling, per OverTheCap. While Mickey Loomis has gotten out of worse predicaments, adding Carr’s contract would be a new challenge for the seasoned GM. The Saints employ Carr’s first NFL HC (Dennis Allen), though he was only with Oakland for a few Carr games before being fired.

Carolina has attempted bigger swings at QB over the past two offseasons, offering a first-round pick and change for Matthew Stafford and offering three and change for Deshaun Watson. The Panthers are preparing to chase a QB again. Is re-signing Sam Darnold a viable option, or will David Tepper try and make a notable upgrade. Carr might not qualify as a huge splash, but he would likely provide an upgrade for a team that has intriguing pieces at several positions.

Neither of the teams that made the Matt Ryan trade have surefire answers for 2023, though Carr might not be a true fit for either the Colts or Falcons. Indianapolis is barreling toward securing its first top-five pick since the Peyton Manning injury year produced Andrew Luck. After trying veterans repeatedly, Indianapolis could have a chance to land an impact prospect. Desmond Ridder being an unchallenged starter would be a risk for the Falcons next year, but they still are on the rebuilding track. That said, Arthur Smith is going into Year 3. Carr pairing with Kyle Pitts and Drake London would be interesting.

Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on this developing situation in the comments section.