Mike Vrabel

Browns To Add Mike Vrabel To Staff

Mike Vrabel did not land a head coaching job and was not closely tied to any coordinator opening. While this profiles as a gap year for the former Titans HC, he has a gig lined up.

The Browns are hiring Vrabel as a coaching and personnel consultant, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Field Yates report. This will bring Vrabel back to Ohio, where he played and coached previously. The Ohio State alum is also an Akron native.

Vrabel has been working for the Browns since the Combine, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. He will work with the AFC North team this season. This reminds of Vic Fangio‘s gap-year setup with the Eagles in 2022, but word of that partnership did not come out until the season was nearly finished. The Browns look to be set to involve Vrabel in their offseason plan.

Vrabel, 48, interviewed for for the Chargers, Falcons and Panthers’ HC jobs this offseason. Seahawks connections emerged at multiple points, but no interview transpired. As was the case with his former mentor, Bill Belichick, Vrabel found himself out of the mix despite being a well-regarded leader. The former NFL Coach of the Year figures to be a better bet to be coveted in 2025 compared to Belichick, whose age (72 in April) will work against him. While no Belichick connections to a team have emerged, Vrabel is jumping back in as he presumably prepares for his next move.

Fangio spent the 2022 season as an Eagles consultant, and the team had hoped to keep him on as its defensive coordinator. That came to fruition a year later, but Vrabel’s situation should differ. Fangio’s age and middling work as Broncos HC moved him off the radar for a top job, as he had committed to hopping back on the DC carousel. Vrabel should be expected to be an HC candidate again soon, and he will take what could well be a part-time position in Cleveland in the meantime.

Prior to becoming a Texans assistant, Vrabel began his coaching career at his alma mater. He coached under Urban Meyer at Ohio State from 2011-13. Going to high school in the Cleveland area (Cuyahoga Falls), Vrabel makes for an interesting fit close to his hometown. He will work alongside Kevin Stefanski and DC Jim Schwartz.

Coaching Notes: Vrabel, Fangio, Dolphins, Eagles, Marrone, Saints, Titans, Bills

Seeing as Mike Vrabel went from highly regarded HC to trade candidate to bumped off this year’s carousel entirely, potential reasoning behind the ex-Titans boss’ standing is certainly relevant. Vrabel’s old-school, intimidating style may have been a factor in him not landing a job, with a GM going so far as to mention to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini this even could even extend to his physical stature. The former NFL linebacker also may have found himself pigeonholed as a slightly older candidate, even at 48, than some owners wanted, Russini offered during an appearance on The Athletic Football Show. Only Jim Harbaugh (60) and Dan Quinn (53) was older among this year’s eight HC hires. Vrabel interviewed for the Falcons, Panthers and Chargers’ jobs.

Some teams were interested in hiring Vrabel as a defensive coordinator, Russini adds, but the six-year NFL HC has not been connected to any specific coordinator jobs. With not many DC positions left, Vrabel seems likely to join Bill Belichick as coaches on the outside looking in this year. Vrabel may stand to have a better chance of landing another HC job moving forward, with Belichick set to turn 72 in April. For now, however, he is out of the league. The reports about Vrabel clashing with Titans ownership may have impacted his chances as well.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • On the subject of coaching clashes, Vic Fangio‘s style did not appear to draw universal praise while with the Dolphins. Jalen Ramsey, Jevon Holland and rookie Cam Smith expressed issues with the veteran DC, ProFootballNetwork.com’s Adam Beasley notes. While praising Fangio’s old-school demands, Tyreek Hill also relayed a rumor about others indicating behind closed doors the team’s 2023 DC wanted to return to Philadelphia. Previously mentioned as rubbing some in Miami the wrong way, Fangio is indeed back with the Eagles. The Dolphins have hired ex-Ravens D-line coach Anthony Weaver to replace him.
  • Preparing to hire Klint Kubiak as offensive coordinator, the Saints will not extend Doug Marrone‘s second stint with the team into the 2024 season. In place as the Saints’ offensive line coach from 2022-23, Marrone will not be asked back, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football tweets. The Saints have veteran O-line coach John Benton as a frontrunner to fill the spot, NOLA.com’s Luke Johnson adds. Benton, 60, would be a logical hire. He worked as Gary Kubiak‘s O-line coach for eight years in Houston and was the 49ers’ O-line coach under Kyle Shanahan from 2017-20. After following Robert Saleh to New York in 2021, Benton spent this past season out of football.
  • Former Falcons assistants Steve Jackson and Frank Bush will be part of new Titans DC Dennard Wilson‘s staff, ESPN.com’s Turron Davenport tweets. A former Texans DC and interim Jets DC, Bush was on Arthur Smith‘s Falcons staff as linebackers coach for three years. This will be a return trip for Jackson, who has a history as a player and a coach with the franchise. A former Oilers cornerback, Jackson finished his career in Super Bowl XXXIV with the Titans. He later served as assistant DBs coach under Mike Mularkey in Tennessee from 2016-17. Jackson spent the past two seasons with the Falcons.
  • The Bills are moving senior defensive assistant Al Holcomb to a position coach role. The former Panthers DC will replace Bobby Babich as Buffalo’s linebackers coach, ESPN.com’s Alaina Getzenberg notes. Babich is now Buffalo’s DC. Holcomb, who worked with Sean McDermott in Carolina, joined the Bills last year. The AFC East champs are also promoting Marcus West from assistant defensive line coach to D-line coach to replace Eric Washington, who became the Bears’ DC last month.

2024 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

The Commanders’ hire has wrapped this year’s cycle. Barring a team making an 11th-hour change, the 2024 HC carousel has come to a stop. The final breakdown produced five defensive coaches being hired compared to three with backgrounds on offense. Many teams are still searching for offensive and defensive coordinators, however.

Updated 2-1-24 (10:37am CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

  • Jerod Mayo, linebackers coach (Patriots): Hired

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Jim Harbaugh To Earn $16MM Per Year; Chargers Had Mike Vrabel As Second Choice?

After their round of rookie head coaches failed to produce a consistent winner, the Chargers are giving the keys to Jim Harbaugh. The longtime Michigan HC is expected to have final roster say over new GM Joe Hortiz. As expected, a lucrative contract comes with this job.

A report just before Harbaugh agreed to terms with the Bolts indicated the team would not quite meet his initial asking price, which was believed to be in the $18MM-per-year range — a salary Sean Payton is believed to have secured from the Broncos. But the Chargers will pay their new head coach in the same NFL tax bracket, with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio indicating Harbaugh secured a $16MM salary. On a five-year deal, Harbaugh has locked in $80MM.

Coaching salaries remain a mysterious topic in the NFL, since they do not have to be disclosed like player contracts do. No salary cap exists for coaching deals, giving the wealthier owners an advantage in terms of wooing top-tier options. The Chargers do not fall into that category and have been regularly labeled as frugal. This perception affected the organization during its most recent search, but the team that serves as the Rams’ tenant at SoFi Stadium cannot be accused of being cheap this time around.

Michigan is believed to have offered Harbaugh a 10-year deal worth $125MM, but language regarding a potential NCAA suspension and how the Wolverines planned to handle their HC’s annual NFL flirtations complicated matters. The 60-year-old coach came into Chargers negotiations with that as leverage, along with the Falcons’ interest. Harbaugh had scheduled a second Falcons meeting, but amid negotiations with the Bolts, the veteran HC tabled that Atlanta trip.

While this coaching salary is not top-of-the-line money, it is in the upper echelon. To illustrate how much the NFL has changed financially, Harbaugh was tied to a $3.25MM base salary when the Ravens traded him to San Diego in 1999.

Harbaugh will now go about his latest attempt to elevate a team, having done so everywhere he has been previously. Given the value a good head coach provides, $16MM is a relative bargain on an uncapped market. Had Harbaugh boarded the plane to follow through with his second Falcons meeting, however, the Chargers may have needed to go to one of their backup plans. The silver medalist in this race is unlikely to land a coaching job this year.

Had Harbaugh not committed to the Chargers during his second interview, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said during a Pat McAfee Show appearance Mike Vrabel was likely positioned as the team’s second choice. Vrabel interviewed with the Chargers, Falcons and Panthers during this cycle. It has been rather surprising to see the well-regarded HC drift off the radar during this cycle, especially considering the trade rumors that followed him during his final weeks with the Titans. With the Commanders not expected to include him in any course change, Vrabel would be forced to take an assistant job or spend the season out of the NFL.

Vrabel, 48, has coached in the NFL since 2014, serving as the Texans’ defensive coordinator after a three-year run as linebackers coach under Bill O’Brien. Despite Houston’s defense not playing particularly well under then-DC Vrabel in 2017, the assistant wowed Tennessee brass in his HC interview and became a successful HC. He guided the Titans to three straight playoff berths and signed an extension early during the 2022 offseason. Clashes with ownership following GM Jon Robinson‘s ouster led Vrabel out of Nashville.

Vrabel has experience coaching at the college level as well, beginning his coaching career with three seasons on Urban Meyer‘s Ohio State staff. It remains to be seen if Vrabel would consider a college gig again, but it appears the six-year Titans HC will not be leading an NFL team in 2024.

Commanders Not Considering Adding Bill Belichick, Mike Vrabel To HC Search

Two Commanders HC candidates dropped out of the race Tuesday. Ben Johnson, the presumed favorite, informed the Commanders and Seahawks he would stay with the Lions. Bobby Slowik, who interviewed with Washington twice, is sticking with the Texans.

This could conceivably prompt the Commanders to expand their search. The Cardinals made this move last year midway through their search. Two big names remain available, in Bill Belichick and Mike Vrabel. The Commanders have not interviewed either candidate, being rumored early during this year’s carousel spin to be steering clear of Belichick. That has not changed, per Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano, who adds no indications have surfaced that Vrabel will be an 11th-hour candidate.

Regarding Belichick, Vacchiano indicates the team is leery about the six-time Super Bowl winner’s age (72 in April) and status working alongside a football ops president (Adam Peters) who has roster control. Belichick operated as the de facto Patriots GM throughout his 24-year tenure, and personnel power was believed to be an issue for the Falcons, the only team to interview the coaching icon during this cycle. Although Belichick is a Maryland native, internal questions as to whether he would want to oversee a rebuild have also emerged.

The Commanders’ reasoning for avoiding Vrabel is less clear, but the six-year Titans HC — who had been mentioned for weeks as a trade asset — looks likely to join his former coach in being shut out this year. Vrabel, 48, is well regarded around the league. But he has not interviewed for either of the two remaining HC jobs. The Seahawks have been connected to being interested in Vrabel, but they are now well into their second interviews. It would appear Seattle has determined to look elsewhere as well.

After Johnson and Slowik dropped out, only one candidate with an offensive background — Eric Bieniemy — remains in the mix for the Washington job. The 2023 Commanders OC is not viewed as a serious HC candidate, according to Vacchiano. After Bieniemy’s failure to land a head coaching job became a lightning-rod NFL topic during his Kansas City run, only Washington interviewed him this time around. The team’s offense struggled down the stretch, finishing with an eight-game losing streak and worse rankings worse than it did during Scott Turner‘s final season calling the shots.

That said, some around the NFL have wondered if the Commanders are still gauging Bieniemy’s fit with the next coach as an OC, Vacchiano adds. It would surprise if Josh Harris were to saddle his next HC hire with the OC Ron Rivera brought in, but Bieniemy does bring considerable experience to the table. Regardless of his shortcomings in HC interviews, the five-year Chiefs OC worked as Andy Reid‘s right-hand man during one of the NFL’s prolific offensive stretches. It would not surprise to see Bieniemy become a candidate to keep his job, but ownership insisting on him staying seems unlikely.

Many in the NFL expected Peters to pursue an offense-oriented coach after seeing how Kyle Shanahan revived the 49ers, Vacchiano adds, noting the team is likely to draft a quarterback at No. 2 overall. As it stands now, a defense-geared coach will be mentoring Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels — should the Bears stay on course and select Caleb Williams atop the draft — in 2024, while Belichick and Vrabel ponder their next moves.

As of Wednesday, no more interviews are scheduled. The Seahawks are interviewing Mike Macdonald for a second time today, while Dan Quinn is also a candidate for the Seattle job. Here is how the Commanders’ search looks:

Coaching Notes: Callahan, Browns, Vrabel, Seahawks, Smith, Johnson, Texans, Jets

The Titans ended Brian Callahan‘s five-year stay as a non-play-calling Bengals OC, hiring the veteran assistant as their Mike Vrabel successor. Although Callahan has never been his team’s primary play-caller, he will not give his first Tennessee OC that responsibility. Callahan will call Titans offensive plays, veteran reporter Paul Kuharsky notes. Callahan has spent five years learning from Bengals HC/play-caller Zac Taylor. He also worked under Jon Gruden in 2018 and Gary Kubiak in 2015. Not calling plays in Cincinnati undoubtedly held Callahan back, considering the success the Bengals’ offense generated during Joe Burrow‘s early years.

During a busy day on the coaching carousel, here is the latest from around the league:

  • Duce Staley will land on his feet. The recently dismissed Panthers running backs coach will take the same position with the Browns, cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot reports. The Jets had planned to make Staley an offer as well, but the veteran RBs coach will replace Stump Mitchell in Cleveland. Staley has coached running backs for the past 11 seasons, doing so with the Eagles, Lions and Panthers. The former NFL running back will have a chance to coach Nick Chubb, assuming the perennial Pro Bowler returns from his ACL tear.
  • The Browns are also working to hire one of Nick Saban’s former assistants to replace the other position coach they fired last week. Tommy Rees, who landed the Notre Dame OC job in his 20s and held the same position at Alabama last season, is on the Browns’ radar, The Athletic’s Zac Jackson tweets. A former Chargers assistant, Rees is expected to become the Browns’ tight ends coach. Cleveland dismissed T.C. McCartney last week.
  • Two casualties of this coaching carousel are candidates to land elsewhere soon. Ex-Falcons HC Arthur Smith and recently dismissed Eagles OC Brian Johnson have generated interest around the league, according to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini. Smith is being monitored as an OC candidate, per Russini, with a handful of teams looking into the three-year Atlanta HC. Prior to Smith’s Falcons tenure, the ex-Titans OC generated widespread interest as a head coach option in 2021. Johnson has not achieved similar status, and Russini does not confirm the one-year Eagles play-caller is on the OC radar. Though, that would not surprise considering Johnson received multiple HC interview requests during this cycle.
  • Mentioned recently as a candidate on the Seahawks‘ radar, Vrabel may be receiving some support from Seattle players. Some Seahawks view Vrabel as the best option for the job, per Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline. Although Vrabel now has three interviews completed or booked, the Seahawks have not yet met with him. They have met with their former DC, Dan Quinn, who was the first name to emerge as the top Pete Carroll successor option. The Dallas DC should still be considered the frontrunner, Pauline adds. Quinn has a second interview scheduled for Friday, but the Seahawks have a few targets set for second meetings this week.
  • The Texans are not bringing back defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes. Lovie Smith hired Cesaire in 2022, whose contract is expiring. DeMeco Ryans‘ club did set a single-season sack record, with 46, which is quite something considering this franchise employed J.J. Watt for nine seasons. A former NFL D-lineman, Cesaire has been a D-line coach in the league since 2020.
  • On the subject of AFC D-line coaches, the Jets are retaining theirs. Aaron Whitecotton‘s contract was set to expire, per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, but the New York Post’s Brian Costello notes the team reached an extension agreement Wednesday. Considering the success the Jets have had up front over the past two seasons, it is unsurprising they made a commitment to keep the Robert Saleh lieutenant around. The Jets also interviewed former Titans assistant Tony Dews for their RBs coach job, The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt tweets. Tennessee’s tight ends coach in 2023, Dews worked alongside current Jets staffers Todd Downing and Keith Carter in Tennessee.

Panthers Planning Mike Vrabel HC Interview

Interested in an offensive coach for a second straight year, the Panthers are at least open to adjusting their search. With Mike Vrabel now available, the NFC South club is doing that.

Vrabel will meet with a third team about a head coaching vacancy, with ESPN.com’s Jeff Darlington reporting the Panthers will bring him in for a Thursday summit. This will occur following Vrabel’s meeting at Arthur Blank‘s home today. The Chargers interviewed Vrabel recently as well.

This would be an interesting fit for Vrabel, given his defensive background and the recent developments that led him out of Nashville. Vrabel clashed with ownership during his final year with the Titans, asking for full roster control and questioning Amy Adams Strunk‘s GM hire. The Titans had been connected to attempting to trade Vrabel’s rights, but they instead fired him. Vrabel is a well-regarded HC, however, had signed an extension following a 2021 season in which the Titans earned the AFC’s No. 1 seed.

The styles of Vrabel and David Tepper would seem to be quite something if paired together. Tepper is believed to be a hands-on owner, one whose reputation has taken a number of hits since he bought the Panthers in 2018. Most recently, the owner received a $300K fine for throwing a drink at a Jaguars fan. Tepper fired Frank Reich after 11 games, doing so after being widely rumored to have led the charge draft Bryce Young over C.J. Stroud last April. The Panthers finished 2-15 and do not have their first-round pick, having dealt it to the Bears.

Vrabel, 48, is the highest-profile coach remaining in the Panthers’ search. With Jim Harbaugh potentially closing in on taking over in Los Angeles, Vrabel may be down to Atlanta, Carolina or Seattle as options. While the Seahawks have not interviewed Vrabel yet, they are believed to be interested. Bill Belichick and several others loom for the Falcons’ opening.

The Panthers have brought in or scheduled second interviews with DC Ejiro Evero, Buccaneers OC Dave Canales and Rams DC Raheem Morris. While other targets met virtually with the Panthers, these are the only candidates to be on the second-interview radar as of Wednesday.

Falcons Give Ejiro Evero Second HC Interview, Meeting With Mike Vrabel

As a Falcons-Jim Harbaugh partnership hit a notable snag today, the team is still going about its HC search. Ejiro Evero went through a second interview with the team Wednesday.

In addition to the Evero meeting, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero notes Mike Vrabel‘s rumored summit is scheduled for today. Word of the Vrabel Atlanta meeting surfaced just as the second Harbaugh interview did, but the former might be more attainable by comparison considering recent developments. This is Vrabel’s first interview for the Falcons’ job; the six-year Titans coach is in Atlanta for the meeting.

Harbaugh has been in serious talks with the Chargers about becoming their next head coach. This has led to Harbaugh’s second Falcons meeting — scheduled for today — being nixed. The sides have not shut down the prospect of rescheduling, but the Michigan HC calling off a scheduled interview does point to the Bolts buzz being legitimate.

Pelissero, however, indicates the Harbaugh meeting is now scheduled for Thursday. Though, that interview is being classified as tentatively slated to occur. Indeed, The Athletic’s Dianna Russini adds Harbaugh’s Falcons meeting could occur later this week if he decides to go through with it. Harbaugh is believed to have an agreement on his Chargers HC salary, though other matters are still being worked out. Even if that hire is imminent, the Falcons are conducting a widespread search.

The Falcons have interviewed 14 candidates, and although Bill Belichick was the first of those to meet with team brass twice, the longtime Patriots icon’s momentum for this job appears to have slowed. Others are being given second interviews, potentially reopening the race.

Evero is part of that contingent, with the Panthers’ defensive coordinator still possessing momentum despite a 2-15 Carolina season. Evero has managed to place himself as a fixture on two HC carousels despite both his past two teams — the Broncos and Panthers — struggling. Evero still elevated his candidacy considerably by keeping Denver’s 2022 defense afloat. Evero’s Carolina defense ranked 29th in points allowed but fourth in yardage, though DVOA slotted the Panthers’ defense 25th.

Evero is far from the only non-Belichick candidate to meet about this job twice. Connected to a wide-ranging search to replace Arthur Smith, the Falcons have now reached out to several options about second meetings. Via PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker, here is how this process stands Wednesday afternoon:

Latest On Falcons’ Head Coaching Search

JANUARY 21: While Atlanta still has a ways to go in its search, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones confirms the job is ultimately Belichick’s if he wants it. He adds, however, that the chances of Belichick deciding to take the Falcons posting are currently seen as being “50-50.” The Falcons have yet to satisfy the Rooney Rule by interviewing two external minority candidates in person. Jones notes Blank is not aiming to fast-track other interviews to accelerate the timeline for adding Belichick or another coach. The latter remains the name to watch in Atlanta, however.

JANUARY 20: While Bill Belichick is reportedly the front runner for the Falcons head coaching job, that won’t stop the organization from considering other candidates. Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes that while there’s clear momentum towards a Falcons/Belichick pairing, the franchise is still intending “to conduct a thorough search for their head coaching hire.”

[RELATED: Bill Belichick Viewed As Top Falcons HC Candidate]

Howe adds that the process is ongoing, and while the Falcons may be targeting Belichick, they still intend to conduct additional interviews. Of course, this could simply be the organization hedging their bets in case Belichick decides to take his coaching acumen elsewhere.

We heard yesterday that owner Arthur Blank was “desperately” trying to lure Belichick to Atlanta, and it would ultimately be on the coach to determine if it’s a fit. With that in mind, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport notes that Belichick’s second interview is noteworthy and a clear indication that the iconic head coach is serious about heading to the Falcons.

Since we learned of Belichick’s first interview with the Falcons earlier this week, a number of big names have also emerged in the sweepstakes. The organization is already arranging a second interview with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, and they’ve reportedly added former Titans coach Mike Vrabel to their list of targets. Indeed, Rapoport notes that the Falcons will meet with Vrabel next week regarding their head coaching vacancy.

Blank and the Falcons have reportedly been big-name hunting in their search for a new head coach, bucking the franchise’s trend of hiring first-year coaches. Of course, the organization is still doing its due diligence with the various head coaching candidates. Besides Belichick, Harbaugh, and Vrabel, the current list of candidates includes:

Falcons Scheduling Mike Vrabel HC Meeting, Arranging Second Jim Harbaugh Interview

Although the Chargers secured the first HC meeting with Mike Vrabel, the Falcons came up as one of the other interested parties. Unsurprisingly, Atlanta intends to meet with the recently fired coach.

The Falcons are scheduling a Vrabel meeting for next week, according to CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones. This comes as the Falcons appear to be giving serious consideration to hiring Vrabel mentor Bill Belichick. The latter is in Atlanta for his second interview.

[RELATED: Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Additionally, the Falcons intend to bring back Jim Harbaugh for a second meeting, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets. We heard earlier today the team, Belichick ties notwithstanding, is aiming to conduct a thorough search. Vrabel being added to the list, along with a second Harbaugh summit, would help the team meet that criteria. Harbaugh’s meeting is also expected to take place next week.

Harbaugh came in for his first Falcons interview Tuesday. While the Raiders reached out to the coach’s new agent, per The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, they did not bring in any high-profile candidates for an interview. The team has since elevated interim HC Antonio Pierce to the full-time position. Harbaugh, however, has met with the Chargers — the other team closely connected to the Michigan coach as the season wound down.

Both coaches are not subject to the recent rule change that prevents candidates attached to NFL staffs from interviewing in-person for jobs until after this weekend’s divisional-round slate. Vrabel and Harbaugh have met with the Chargers in Los Angeles. The Seahawks are being connected to Vrabel (but not Harbaugh), though they have not met with the ex-Titans HC yet. The Falcons are believed to be prioritizing experience this time around. Belichick, Harbaugh and Vrabel obviously would satisfy this new goal for a franchise that has not hired a former head coach to lead the team since its 1997 Dan Reeves addition. That came before Arthur Blank‘s ownership tenure; Blank fired Reeves in 2003. Blank’s five HC hires came in as first-time NFL leaders.

Harbaugh is coming off a national championship win but has again showed interest in an NFL return. The fiery HC interviewed for jobs with the Vikings in 2022 and Broncos in 2023. Harbaugh’s clash with 49ers brass has been well documented, but the nine-year Michigan coach still carries one of the best win percentages in NFL history; his .695 percentage ranks fifth all time. He has guided the Wolverines to three straight CFP fields, a stretch culminating with the program’s victory over Washington this month.

Vrabel’s Titans run cannot match Harbaugh’s San Francisco success, but the former linebacker gained a reputation for fostering toughness and coaxing the most out of his personnel. Despite the lack of a top-tier quarterback, the Titans ventured to three straight playoff brackets. This included an AFC championship game berth (2019) and a No. 1 seed (2021). Clashes with ownership also brought down Vrabel in Tennessee.

Both coaches have been tied to having personnel input, with Vrabel going so far as to request it — during the period in which the Titans did not have a GM in place — in his final year with the Titans. Harbaugh is not expected to require suitors “to allow him to hire his own GM, understanding that the structure [in] NFL buildings has changed and evolved since he last worked in the league.” A team that hires Harbaugh would presumably only do so — based on his undoing with the 49ers — if the accomplished HC approves of the front office decision-maker in place. With Harbaugh still in talks with Michigan about another extension, interested NFL teams will need to present a compelling offer.

The Falcons have Terry Fontenot going into his fourth year as GM, but with these high-profile coaches coming in for meetings, it should not be assumed the young exec is certain to retain his current role into the 2024 season.