Matt Nagy

AFC West Rumors: Payton, Munchak, Nagy

With a young, top-flight QB in Justin Herbert and a talented roster surrounding him, the Chargers would appeal to almost any head coaching candidate. The team has once again dealt with major injury problems this year, but the decision-making of second-year HC Brandon Staley and the defense’s poor performance under Staley, a former defensive coach and coordinator, has led some to question his job security.

While it would be highly surprising to see Staley dismissed in-season — after all, as of the time of this writing, the club is 3-2 — Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post suggests that the Bolts could be willing to move on if the 2022 season does not “provide an acceptable outcome” (for a team like Los Angeles, an acceptable outcome presumably means at least a postseason berth). If Staley is indeed ousted, one longtime NFL personnel exec who has worked with former Saints head coach Sean Payton says the Chargers job is the one that Payton really wants.

Payton, 58, surprisingly stepped away from the Saints in January after having served as New Orleans’ head coach since 2006. He has left the door open for a return to the sidelines, and in July, it was reported that the Chargers would be one of his preferred teams, along with the Dolphins and Cowboys. Payton is said to be looking for a club that plays its home games in a warm weather city and that boasts a strong QB situation and roster, and the Chargers check all of those boxes. Plus, since the team is in the AFC, the Saints — who still hold Payton’s rights — may be willing to trade their Super Bowl-winning coach to LA.

However, Payton is also seeking control over personnel decisions, and Chargers GM Tom Telesco has been with the club since 2013. It would be interesting to see if team ownership would ask Telesco to cede at least some of his authority if a Payton acquisition becomes a possibility, and if Telesco would be willing to do so.

Now for more from the AFC West:

  • The surprising performance of rookie Jamaree Salyer means that the Chargers have a viable solution at LT in the absence of Rashawn Slater, as Daniel Popper of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Originally drafted as a guard, Salyer was appointed as Herbert’s blindside protector in Week 4 after Slater was placed on IR, and he played quite well in the team’s victory over the Texans. Then, in a Week 5 win over the Browns, Salyer held his own against Cleveland’s Myles Garrett, so Los Angeles should not have to make a move for a left tackle while it waits for Slater to return (which could happen at the end of the season).
  • Speaking of left tackles, Broncos LT Garett Bolles went under the knife on Wednesday to repair his broken right fibula, per Mike Klis of Bolles suffered the injury during Denver’s Week 5 loss to the Colts, and he will miss the remainder of the season. As Klis notes, Bolles’ $2MM injury guarantee for 2023 will be triggered, but given that the 2017 first-rounder is due to earn $14MM in salary in 2023 — a modest sum for a top left tackle — that presumably won’t matter too much.
  • Broncos rookie HC Nathaniel Hackett is under plenty of heat at the moment, and there are rumors that he may not even make it through his first season as a head coach. In light of his early difficulties, pundits are revisiting Hackett’s construction of his coaching staff, which included the decision to part ways with Denver’s former O-line coach, Mike Munchak, and replace him with Butch Barry (who had never worked as a lead OL coach in the NFL). Hackett made the move for schematic reasons, but as Peter King wrote in his weekly FMIA column on Monday, Munchak wanted to stay in Denver, and in addition to his reputation as one of the game’s best OL coaches, he is also a respected leader who has HC experience of his own. In hindsight, retaining a veteran influence like Munchak might have been the better decision.
  • The Bears relieved Matt Nagy of his head coaching duties at the end of the 2021 season, and he subsequently rejoined the Chiefs as quarterbacks coach/senior offensive assistant. Nagy put himself on the HC radar as the QBs coach and offensive coordinator for Kansas City from 2013-17, and he also worked under Chiefs head coach Andy Reid when both men where with the Eagles. It’s clear that Reid thinks highly of Nagy’s abilities, and a league source tells Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network that Nagy could eventually succeed his mentor as head coach of the Chiefs. Reid, 64, is under contract through 2025, and though he has said he is open to coaching into his 70s, it is feasible that he could end his Hall of Fame career before then. By the end of Reid’s current contract, Nagy will have had time to distance himself from the disappointing end to his Chicago tenure, and he may even find himself back as Kansas City’s OC if Eric Bieniemy ever lands his own head coaching post.
  • Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay Jr. is set to serve the final game of his four-game suspension on Sunday, and as Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports writes, the league initially pushed for the maximum six-game ban. The union advocated a two-game suspension, and the two sides met in the middle at four games before the matter reached the jointly-appointed disciplinary officer, Judge Sue L. Robinson. Gay missed time due to injury in 2021 but finished the season as a top-25 ‘backer in the eyes of Pro Football Focus, and his return should provide a boost to KC’s defense.

Chiefs Hire Matt Nagy As QBs Coach

One day after the Bears’ former general manager found a new home, their ex-head coach has landed his next NFL job. The Chiefs have hired Matt Nagy as their new quarterbacks coach, adding the title of senior offensive assistant, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). 

[Related: Chiefs To Retain OC Eric Bieniemy]

The move marks a reunion for Nagy and Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. The pair worked together with the Eagles, as Nagy began his coaching carer in Philadelphia immediately after his playing days were over. Reid brought Nagy onto his Chiefs staff as well, hiring him to be the team’s QBs coach in 2013, a position he held for three seasons.

Nagy then got promoted to OC, the role he had for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The latter campaign saw the Chiefs transition from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes as their starting QB, so there will be a degree of familiarity on that front for Nagy.

The 43-year-old’s success in Kansas City got him his first HC gig with the Bears. After winning Coach of the Year in his first season, though, things started to go south. A 12-4, division-winning campaign was followed up by consecutive 8-8 seasons, as it became clear that Mitch Trubisky would not be the franchise signal caller he was drafted to be. The 2021 campaign, which saw the team go 6-11 and featured an underwhelming rookie season for Justin Fields, led to an increasing amount of blame for the offense’s struggles being shouldered by Nagy, who was fired at the end of the year.

Interestingly, Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson reports that Nagy “had several coaching opportunities with similar titles”. He adds that Nagy “was passionate about getting back into coaching” right away, leaving Kansas City as the most logical location for him to do so. He will replace Mike Kafka, who was hired to be the new OC for the Giants earlier this month.

AFC Coaching Notes: Colts, Bills, Jaguars, Ravens

Since Frank Reich was able to land defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to replace Bears’ head coach Matt Eberflus, Bradley has begun the process of putting his staff together. Today Bradley added longtime defensive backs coach Ron Milus to coach his secondary, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Milus first started coaching defensive backs at his alma mater, the University of Washington, about eight years after playing cornerback there. He held the college position for seven years before getting an NFL coaching opportunity in 2000. Since then, Milus hasn’t spent a season out of work with stints in Denver, Arizona, New York (Giants), St. Louis, Carolina, San Diego, and Las Vegas. His longest stint was with the Chargers, spending eight years in southern California and transitioning with the team to Los Angeles. It was in Los Angeles that Milus was retained when Bradley joined the Chargers’ staff. He followed Bradley to Las Vegas and will join him once more in Indianapolis.

Here are a few other coaching notes from around the AFC starting with another bit from the Hoosier State:

  • In addition to Milus, Mike Chappell of Fox59 reports that Indianapolis is also in the process of hiring linebackers coach Richard Smith, who worked with Bradley and Milus in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Smith has coached in the NFL since he debuted for the Houston Oilers in 1988 coaching special teams and tight ends. He found his niche as a linebackers coach in 1997 for the 49ers and has had three short stints as a defensive coordinator in Miami, Houston, and Atlanta.
  • ESPN’s Yates also tweeted out a report that the Bills have added former QB Kyle Shurmur on staff in a defensive quality control position. After four years at Vanderbilt, Shurmur signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chiefs, spending time on their practice squad as well as on the Bengals’ and Washington’s practice squads. He was released by Washington a little over a month ago and that appears to mark the end of his playing career. He seems to be following in the footsteps of his father, Pat Shurmur, and joining the coaching track.
  • A castaway from the Matt Nagy Bears’ staff, outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey will not be without work for long as Curtis Crabtree of NBC Sports reports that Shuey is joining Doug Pederson‘s staff in Jacksonville in the same role. Shuey and Pederson had two separate tenures together in Philadelphia.
  • Pederson also made a crucial move of retaining running backs coach Bernie Parmalee. Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network tells us that keeping Parmalee was a priority for Pederson, especially due to his strong relationship with star running back James Robinson.
  • Baltimore has hired Rob Leonard as outside linebackers coach, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley (Twitter). Leonard will replace Drew Wilkins who left to join Brian Daboll‘s staff in New York. Leonard spent the past three seasons in the same position with the Dolphins. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic adds that former Michigan analyst Ryan Osborn will follow Mike Macdonald to the Ravens for a quality control position. Osborn is credited with having a role in the development of Wolverines’ EDGE players like Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo.

Bears Fire HC Matt Nagy, GM Ryan Pace

In another expected move to begin ‘Black Monday’ in the NFL, the Bears are parting ways with Head Coach Matt Nagy, according to ESPN”S Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Nagy becomes the fourth recent firing in the NFL, joining Vic Fangio from the Broncos, Mike Zimmer from the Vikings and Brian Flores from the Dolphins. 

It had long been expected that Nagy was on his way out of Chicago as the 2021 season progressed with offensive struggles continuing with and without rookie quarterback Justin Fields. While the 43-year old survived rumors leading up to their Thanksgiving day game against the Lions that he would be let go midseason, he didn’t do enough in the remainder of the campaign to change ownership’s mind.

Not long after the news of Nagy’s firing broke, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero Tweeted that GM Ryan Pace has also been fired. Pace had held the GM title for seven seasons, a span that included the drafting of Mitch Trubisky in 2017 and only two postseason appearances (with no wins). It was reported in November that Pace may be safe for one more year, but the Bears are obviously cleaning house instead.

After four seasons, Nagy finishes with an overall regular season record of 34-31, along with two postseason appearances that each ended in first-round exits. After a 12-4 season that earned him Coach of the Year honors in 2018, the Bears went 8-8 for the next two campaigns and ended up a disappointing 6-11 in 2021.

Even before it was made official that Nagy was let go, a few names came up recently who may be in line to replace him. According to a recent report, two candidates to keep an eye on are Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo. Other options have been linked to the Windy City as well, but in any event it is believed the new HC will lean more towards the ‘leader-of-men’ type than Nagy’s ‘quarterback whisperer’ style.

Along with Jacksonville and Las Vegas, the Broncos’ decision to move on from Fangio over the weekend in addition to the three firings today brings the total number of head coaching vacancies in the league to six. With Pace out, there are now two open GM positions.

Matt Eberflus, Jerod Mayo Could Be Candidates For Bears HC

Matt Nagy could be coaching his final game with the Bears tomorrow. If that’s the case, the focus will pivot to his replacement, and we’re already starting to hear some chatter about potential candidates. According to Albert Breer of, Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo would be in the mix if the Bears HC gig opens up.

Breer also acknowledges that Chicago has been connected to bigger names like Jim Harbaugh and Sean Payton, but he can’t envision the organization getting into a bidding war for either coach. Breer also notes that former Bears cornerback (and current Bills defensive coordinator) Leslie Frazier could be a logical option.

During their last HC search, the Bears were focused on adding “quarterback-developers.” However, that won’t necessarily be the case this time around. While the organization will obviously want to hear the candidates’ plans for QB Justin Fields, Breer believes the Bears are instead focused on hiring a “leader-of-men” coach.

Eberflus served as a linebackers coach for almost a decade with the Browns and Cowboys, but he finally got a shot at a DC gig in 2018. In Indy, the 51-year-old has been credited with establishing a culture built on hustle and discipline, and his defenses have mostly been up to the challenge. Eberflus’s defenses have consistently been ranked in the top-half of the NFL for their ability to stop the run, and the team has ranked top-10 in takeaways during each of his four seasons at the helm.

Mayo had a standout career with the Patriots, with the former 10th-overall pick earning two Pro Bowl nods and a Super Bowl ring during his eight seasons in New England. Mayo rejoined the organization as their linebackers coach in 2019. While New England is currently operating without a true defensive coordinator, Mayo (along with Steve Belichick) are assumed to be atop the defensive coaching depth chart.

Bears’ Matt Nagy Expects To Finish Season

It doesn’t seem likely that Matt Nagy will return as the Bears’ head coach in 2022. But, for the time being, Nagy is operating under the assumption that he’ll remain in place through the final two games of this season (Twitter link via Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune). 

[RELATED: NFL To Allow HC Interviews Starting Tuesday] 

The league recently voted to allow head coaching interviews starting tomorrow, Dec. 28th. The Jaguars quickly took advantage of the new rule by firing Urban Meyer, leading many to speculate that Nagy could go as soon as this week. After all, chairman George McCaskey is already doing groundwork on candidates and even considering moving on from GM Ryan Pace.

Nagy may have earned a temporary reprieve on Sunday as the Bears beat the Seahawks, 25-24. After Nick Foles‘ game-tying touchdown drive, Nagy’s gutsy call to go for a two-point conversion paid off. It’s hard to imagine that the victory — win No. 5 for the Bears this year — will have a real impact on Nagy’s standing beyond this year. But, in theory, it could give Nagy another two games at the helm.

When/if Nagy is fired, the Bears could consider the likes of Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Cowboys OC Kellen Moore, and Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy for the role.

Bears Considering Front Office Changes

Matt Nagy is not expected to be retained for a fourth season as Bears head coach, but the team is not certain to oust GM Ryan Pace. However, Pace’s status is among the matters being debated within the organization.

Firing Pace and potentially revamping the organizational structure are scenarios chairman George McCaskey is considering, according to The Athletic’s Adam Jahns (subscription required). Last month, a report emerged indicating Pace could well be back to hire a third coach. But the Bears have lost three of their past four games since then, with the lone win coming over the Lions. They are now 4-10, having dropped eight of their past nine.

McCaskey has completed early groundwork on making changes, per Jahns, who adds team president Ted Phillips is not a lock to stay in his role. While the Bears should not be expected to fire their longtime president, the prospect of Pace or another GM reporting directly to McCaskey in the future is on the table. The past three Bears GMs — Jerry Angelo, Phil Emery and Pace — have reported to Phillips, who serves as the team’s top non-McCaskey executive.

A Phillips retirement looms as a possibility, Jahns adds. Phillips has been in his post since 1999. His role as the exec between the GM and McCaskey became a point of contention during the Bears’ previous GM hiring cycle. Former Bears exec Chris Ballard, who was up for the job Pace landed, wanted to restructure the front office were he hired in 2015. That desire caused the Bears to move in a different direction. Ballard stayed with the Chiefs before becoming Colts GM.

Should they remain in their current roles, Phillips and Pace would be McCaskey’s point men in replacing Nagy, who is set to close a sub-.500 season for the first time. The Bears, however, have won one playoff game since advancing to Super Bowl XLI. The Buccaneers and Cardinals have benefited from allowing their GMs to hire a third head coach, with Jason Licht eventually signing Tom Brady and Steve Keim adding the Kliff KingsburyKyler Murray duo. The Chargers have also allowed their GM, Tom Telesco, to select three HCs.

McCaskey keeping Pace on would not be a popular decision in Chicago, given his decision to trade up for Mitchell Trubisky in 2017, but he was also behind the team’s Justin Fields move. It would not shock if the first-time GM stuck around to help see that plan take shape. If the Bears keep Pace, he would certainly enter 2022 on a hotter seat. The franchise may need to act quicker than usual on the firing front, with the NFL now permitting teams with HC vacancies to interview candidates next week. Pace would stand to be at the center of the team’s next HC-hiring process, should be stay on as GM. The Bears have never fired a coach in-season.

Coaching Notes: Jags, Culley, Nagy

Things have not gone well for the Jaguars this year. Urban Meyer failed to make it through his first year as an NFL head coach, No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence has the second-worst QB rating among qualified passers, and the club has mustered just two wins against 11 losses. The good news, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, is that the Jacksonville head coaching job is considered a desirable one, and many candidates who are expected to be hot commodities in the upcoming coaching cycle are anxious to secure an interview with owner Shad Khan.

That is largely because of Lawrence, who is still considered a generational talent despite his rookie struggles. Former Eagles HC Doug Pederson is reportedly interested in the post, and Patriots OC Josh McDaniels and Bills OC Brian Daboll might also be attractive options for Khan given their recent work with young signal-callers. One way or another, Khan should not have any difficulty luring a top candidate to Duval, though he obviously needs to get this hire right.

Here are several other coaching-related items:

  • Jaguars interim HC Darrell Bevell will have a chance to have the interim tag removed and interview for the permanent head coaching gig. He does have Lawrence’s support, but his candidacy will depend on how the team’s offense performs down the stretch. Ian Rapoport of expects Ravens DC Don Martindale — the architect of the Jags’ Joe Cullen-led defense — to be in the mix as well (Twitter link).
  • We recently heard that the Texans are expected to retain head coach David Culley for 2022, but GM Nick Caserio is at least considering his options, per La Canfora. Culley, a 66-year-old coach who had spent his entire career as an assistant, was the most surprising hire of the 2021 cycle, but as Houston was (and is) in the midst of a complete rebuild, the club was perhaps looking for more of a caretaker than anything else. Caserio is rumored to have his eye on one unnamed candidate for the next phase of the rebuild, and it’s not difficult to connect the dots to McDaniels. The Houston HC job may not attract many in-demand candidates for 2022, which means that Culley could get one more year at the helm. However, if McDaniels does not land his own head coaching post in the coming months, he and Caserio could reunite in Texas in 2023.
  • No surprises here, but La Canfora, in the same Culley piece linked above, says many assistants on Bears HC Matt Nagy‘s staff are operating under the assumption that they will need to find new employment at season’s end. It has been assumed that Nagy will be terminated after the season is over, though La Canfora leaves open the possibility that Nagy could get his walking papers before then so that Chicago can get a head start on the interview process.

Will Matt Nagy Coach The Bears in 2022?

Out of all the tenuous coaching situations throughout the NFL, the one in Chicago may be the most interesting. Matt Nagy has displayed enough during his tenure as head coach of the Bears that a case can be made either way for the team to keep him or move on at the end of the season. 

After being hired in 2018, Nagy helped the team to an impressive 12-4 record, earning himself Coach of the Year honors. Back-to-back 8-8 seasons followed, however, including a six game losing streak in 2020. While the Bears made it to the playoffs that year — the second trip to the postseason in three campaigns under Nagy — things have not gone nearly as well in 2021. Another five-game skid has contributed to a 4-9 overall record, and uncertainty about his job security came to a head as recently as Thanksgiving.

Cause for optimism came in April in the form of Justin Fields being drafted 11th overall as the latest attempt to solidify the quarterback position. The former Buckeye represented not only a potential upgrade over Mitch Trubiskybut a lifeline for Nagy and GM Ryan Pace. With enough signs of franchise potential – if not results in the win-loss column along the way – there would be an argument to be made in favor of keeping the coach-quarterback relationship together at least one more year.

Things haven’t been stellar for Fields or the Bears in 2021, though. In and out of the lineup with injuries, and splitting the starting job with free agent signing Andy Dalton, Fields currently has a record of 2-7. While he has shown flashes with his legs in particular, posting 385 rushing yards and two touchdowns averaging just under six yards per attempt, he has struggled in the passing game. His completion percentage (57.6%), touchdown-to-interception ratio (six to 10) and 33 sacks taken are some of statistics that are evidence of a struggling offense, much of the blame for which has been laid at Nagy’s feet.

Have your say below regarding Nagy’s coaching future in Chicago (link for app users):

Bears’ OL Coach Leaving For Nebraska

Bears’ assistant offensive line coach Donovan Raiola is leaving Chicago to become the offensive line coach at the University of Nebraska, reports Michael David Smith of NBC Sports. Raiola’s midseason departure comes as no surprise as Matt Nagy sees his grasp on the head coaching position in Chicago becoming more and more tenuous. Nagy stands as the longest-tenured head coach currently in the NFL without a win in the postseason.

Although Raiola played college football for the rival Wisconsin Badgers, he does have ties to Nebraska as his older brother, Dominic, won the Rimington Trophy for the best center in college football in 2000 as a Cornhusker.

Raiola is filling a vacancy on Scott Frost’s staff left by Greg Austin who followed Frost from the University of Central Florida to Nebraska in 2017 and was let go in November as Frost decided to make major changes in an attempt to right the ship of a struggling Cornhuskers team. The Bears offensive line won’t be abandoned as Juan Castillo remains as the offensive line coach in Chicago.