Buccaneers 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

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)

Latest On Buccaneers’ Staff Changes, Free Agency Plans

The Buccaneers are on the lookout for a new offensive coordinator, with Byron Leftwich being the highest-profile coach the team moved on from amid a spree of dismissals and retirements last week. Both Todd Bowles and Tom Brady voiced concerns about Leftwich last season.

Bowles and Brady complained about the offense’s predictability, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud, who adds the team’s lack of commitment to the run game was one of the issues. Bowles believed teams had caught onto Leftwich’s offense, which tumbled off its elite perch of previous years, and Brady problems with the offense emerged back in December.

Tampa Bay finished 25th in scoring, and although it ranked 15th in total offense, a last-place ground attack dragged down the latter number. The Bucs ranked 32nd across the board on the ground, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry and totaling just five rushing touchdowns. The Bucs went from 61 TDs in 2021 to 31 this season. Leonard Fournette‘s three-year, $21MM deal produced just 668 rushing yards (3.5 per tote) in 16 games. Much of these woes can be attributed to the changes to Tampa Bay’s interior offensive line, which lost all three of its previous starters — Ryan Jensen (injury), Ali Marpet (retirement), Alex Cappa (free agency) — to lead to lesser replacements creating problems for Brady and the run game. Brady showing signs of decline did not help matters for Leftwich, either.

But Leftwich and other Bruce Arians-hired staffers took the fall. Arians is not pleased with what happened last week, Stroud said during a WDAE Radio interview (via JoeBucsFan.com). The three-year Bucs HC, who gave the keys to Bowles in a surprising move last March, is “disappointed” and “hurt” his successor canned several of his staffers. Those assistants, some of whom having additional years on their contracts, had been told they would be there as long as Bowles was, per Stroud. Of course, NFL teams’ plans change rapidly. And an 8-9 season was not exactly where the Bucs thought they would be given their performances in 2020 and ’21. Bowles figures to enter the 2023 season on the hot seat. Arians spent the season as a senior advisor to Jason Licht, though he admitted late in the season he missed coaching.

As Bowles gathered his staff for a postmortem Thursday morning — prior to informing Leftwich and Co. they were being fired — he mentioned the team would have a difficult time signing free agents, per Stroud. The Bucs are nearly in Saints territory in terms of cap space, ranking ahead of only their restructure-happy rivals around the league. As of Wednesday, Tampa Bay sits $54MM-plus over the projected 2023 cap. The Bucs have been active in free agency over the past two years, mostly via re-signings. But the team had brought back a number of its top free agents — from Jensen to Carlton Davis in 2022 to Shaq Barrett, Lavonte David and Rob Gronkowski in 2021 — during Brady’s stay.

Following that meeting, Bowles called select assistants into his office to inform them of the dismissals. Despite the persistent run-game struggles, Bowles kept Arians hires Harold Goodwin (run-game coordinator) and Joe Gilbert (O-line coach). The team had discussions with Bill O’Brien as a Leftwich contingency plan last year, in the event the latter landed the Jacksonville HC job. O’Brien was Brady’s OC (or de facto OC, as the Patriots sometimes do not do coordinator titles) for three seasons, but he is now back with the Pats.

The Bucs have begun their OC search, with a few candidates surfacing Tuesday. While Leftwich’s ouster may influence Brady in free agency, the early word coming out of Tampa is the 45-year-old superstar will explore other options if he is to play a 24th season.

Keenan McCardell On Buccaneers’ OC Radar

Keenan McCardell continues to generate interest on the offensive coordinator market, marking the first time the former Pro Bowl wide receiver has done so.

Following his Patriots OC interview, McCardell is set for a Buccaneers interview, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The Pats went with their long-rumored favorite — Bill O’Brienfor their play-calling role, but the New England meeting was believed to be McCardell’s first for an OC post. The experienced wideouts coach will now make a trip for a second such interview.

Although McCardell has been coaching since 2010, he is best known for his playing career. That 17-season run included a memorable stay with the Bucs, who signed him in 2002. Teaming with Keyshawn Johnson on Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl-winning squad, McCardell proved a valuable addition. He caught two touchdowns in Super Bowl XXXVII and led the Bucs, who abruptly moved on from Johnson during the 2003 season, with 1,174 receiving yards the following year.

McCardell, 52, has been the Vikings’ wide receivers coach for the past two seasons, being kept on staff despite the franchise’s 2022 regime change. Given the play of Justin Jefferson and the development of K.J. Osborn, it is unsurprising the young playmakers’ position coach is being looked at for a possible title bump.

The Bucs now have McCardell, Jaguars passing-game coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and Broncos quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak — who worked with McCardell on the 2021 Vikings’ staff — as candidates to replace Byron Leftwich.

Bucs Begin Round Of OC Interview Requests

4:36pm: The Bucs are also set to meet with Broncos quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The team attempted to secure a meeting with Texans offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, but Hamilton declined the meeting.

The former Vikings OC, Kubiak became a key figure during Nathaniel Hackett‘s disastrous season. Hackett gave the second-generation coach the play-calling reins late in the season; this marked the second straight year Kubiak held that responsibility. Kubiak, 35, has less experience running an offense compared to Cooter and Hamilton, and more candidates will emerge soon. Hamilton returned to an OC role this season — after being the Chargers’ QBs coach in 2020 and Texans’ QBs instructor in 2021 — but Houston axing Lovie Smith will likely lead him elsewhere.

4:06pm: Jim Bob Cooter is back on the offensive coordinator radar. Being out of the play-calling mix for the past four seasons, the former Lions OC received an interview request Tuesday.

The Buccaneers want to meet with the Jaguars’ passing-game coordinator about their OC role, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The Jags made tremendous strides this season, with Trevor Lawrence showing signs of becoming the star talent he was pegged to be when he went No. 1 overall last year.

The Lions had promoted Cooter to OC when he was just 31, bumping him to their play-calling post during the 2015 season. Matt Patricia kept Cooter on following Jim Caldwell‘s firing but moved on after his first Detroit season. Cooter, 38, has bounced from Jets to the Eagles to the Jags in the years since. Todd Bowles was out of New York by the time Cooter arrived in 2019, but the ex-Jets coach has made him the first known candidate for the Bucs’ OC position.

Bowles fired Byron Leftwich last week, moving on after inheriting the Bruce Arians hire in 2022. The Bucs’ offense, which was a top-seven unit under Leftwich from 2019-21, nosedived this season. Tampa Bay fell from second to 25th in points and second to 15th in yardage. Leftwich’s successor may well not have Tom Brady to coach in 2023, either. Although the 45-year-old legend regressed in 2022, he still provided considerable value to the Bucs over the past three seasons. If Brady plays in 2023, various reports have pointed to that 24th season coming elsewhere.

Cooter coaxed some quality Matthew Stafford seasons in Detroit; the longtime Lions QB finished eighth in QBR in each of Cooter’s first two years as OC. This past season marked Cooter’s first chance to work with a quarterback since his Detroit days, and Lawrence — after a rocky start — rebounded to lead the Jaguars to the playoffs. Jacksonville’s Lawrence-led wild-card comeback — the third-largest deficit overcome in the postseason — points their long-term arrow up after a disastrous Urban Meyer experiment in 2021. Doug Pederson calls the Jags’ plays, and Press Taylor is the team’s OC. That opens the door for Cooter, with other OC openings likely coming soon as teams make their HC choices.

NFL Reserve/Futures Deals: 1/23/23

Today’s reserve/futures deals, mostly featuring teams recently eliminated from the postseason:

Buffalo Bills

Dallas Cowboys

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

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.

Latest On Tom Brady’s Future With The Buccaneers

It remains to be seen where (or if) Tom Brady will play in 2023. However, several Buccaneers players believe the quarterback definitely won’t be back in Tampa Bay. Speaking to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Bucs players said their “final interactions” with Brady this season led them to believe that the signal-caller won’t be back in Tampa next year.

[RELATED: Buccaneers To Fire OC Byron Leftwich]

One player told Rapoport that he’d be “surprised if [Brady’s] back,” while another said the QB “sounded like a person saying goodbye for good.” Brady also seemed to bid farewell to the media during his final press conference, another indication that he’d likely be heading elsewhere.

Sources tell Rapoport that Brady is going “to head into his few weeks of decision-making time with an open mind.” The future Hall of Famer will spend time with family while he considers all of his options. While re-signing with Tampa Bay has to be included on the list of options, it’s sounding increasingly more likely that Brady will either sign elsewhere or hang up his cleats (at which time he has a lucrative deal with Fox Sports waiting for him).

Brady went as far as to announce his retirement last offseason before reversing course and returning for another campaign. Some thought Brady’s initial retirement was an attempt to force his way out of Tampa Bay, but whether it was a change of heart of the Buccaneers’ unwillingness to budge, the QB ended up returning for a third season with the organization. It was a tough year for the Buccaneers offense, leading to offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich‘s ouster following the team’s opening-round playoff loss.

A number of teams have been mentioned as potential landing spots for Brady. The Dolphins could make another run at the QB after the organization was punished for their previous pursuit. Brady could look to reunite with former OC Josh McDaniels in Las Vegas or with former teammate Mike Vrabel in Tennessee, and rumors of a move back home to San Francisco will continue to persist.

Injury Rumors: Hyde, Gage

Bills safety Micah Hyde was initially thought to be out for the year after suffering a neck injury in only the second week of this season. A glimmer of hope appeared in late November when a neck surgery allowed Hyde the relief needed to return to active participation with the team. The good news came to a head when Buffalo designated their veteran safety to return from injured reserve a little over a week ago.

Not taking anything away from what the good news means for Hyde and his eventual return to the field, the Bills are remaining cautious and patient with Hyde this season. He was ruled out before last week’s matchup against the division rival Dolphins and ruled out for the divisional round a week in advance, according to ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg.

Head coach Sean McDermott spoke on Hyde’s situation, saying, “After (the divisional round), I don’t know. It’s kind of one of those things like, wake me up when…tap me on the shoulder when he’s ready.”

Here’s another rumor, this one concerning an injury that occurred on Monday:

  • Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage encountered a scare when he exited Monday night’s loss to the Cowboys on a stretcher after taking a scary hit to the head and neck area. Tampa Bay’s official Twitter account released a statement explaining that Gage suffered a neck injury and a concussion and was taken to a hospital for an overnight stay where he received additional testing and observation. Head coach Todd Bowles told the media that Gage was released from the hospital the next day, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Bowles divulged that Gage avoided serious injury in his neck and that “he has all his extremities moving.”