head coaching candidate for each he NFL's seven openings

The firing of Joe Judge by the New York Giants on Tuesday night brought the number of head coaching vacancies in the NFL to seven.

So far, the Raiders, Jaguars, Broncos, Bears, Dolphins, Vikings, and Giants have vacancies.

Other vacancies to watch: Houston, where David Culley is coming off his first season. Although Culley had little to work with, rumors are swirling that the Texans could start over. And there’s Seattle, where the Seahawks face an uncertain future at both the head coach and quarterback positions. Some NFL experts believe that if Russell Wilson demands a change this offseason, Pete Carroll could end up retiring rather than starting over with a new quarterback.

But for now, the vacancies are seven.

The interview process has begun for many teams and will likely continue over the next few weeks. The owners and management teams of these squads are casting the nets, with candidates of varying degrees of experience being considered.

Each hiring cycle seems to follow a trend. In recent years, teams have taken on young, offensive minds. But sometimes teams go for proven commodities, hiring candidates with previous head coaching experience.

Las Vegas Raiders: Rich Bisaccia

The interim head coach brought stability to the franchise when it was reeling from Jon Gruden’s email scandal and subsequent resignation, and the firing of former first-round draft pick Henry Ruggs after he was charged with DUI following a car accident that claimed the life of a woman. Everyone who has worked with Bisaccia has said he would make a good head coach if given the opportunity because of his communication skills, his ability to get men to buy into his vision, and his attention to detail.

The Raiders climbed out of a hole and into the playoffs and have some momentum thanks to a four-game winning streak. Their 10-7 finish marks their best record and their first postseason berth in five years. The Raiders will do their due diligence, but they very well could hang around, and for good reason. The deeper the Raiders get into the playoffs, the better chance Bisaccia has of securing the job.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Jim Caldwell

The veteran offensive coordinator/quarterbacks whisperer helped Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco and Matthew Stafford produce some of their best work; he has also had success as a head coach, including guiding the Lions to two playoff appearances in four years. The Jaguars need a calming presence, a strong leader, and an experienced mind to help get the most out of Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars are casting a wide net, but few have a resume to rival Caldwell’s.

Alternate pick: former Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich, who is the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He would bring new energy and serve as a good sounding board for Lawrence and would likely fill out his staff with a strong veteran presence.

Denver Broncos: Dan Quinn

The former Atlanta Falcons coach landed the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator job this year and has overseen a dramatic improvement from historically bad to a game-changing big-play unit.

Quinn brings experience as a head coach and as a coordinator and would help a young and talented defense take another step forward.

Alternate pick: Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, a talented offensive mind who has a strong relationship with Aaron Rodgers, who may or may not be going anywhere in the offseason.

Minnesota Vikings: Marvin Lewis

Off the bench since 2018, when he was fired after 16 seasons (and seven playoff appearances) at Cincinnati, Lewis wants to return to the NFL. He has spent the past two years working as a consultant/assistant coach for Herm Edwards at Arizona State.

Lewis possesses the ability to blend young and veteran talent while having them work toward a common goal. He would bring freshness, but also a degree of familiarity when it comes to improving the Vikings defense, as the system Mike Zimmer ran for eight years as a head coach came largely from Lewis, with whom Zimmer coached at Cincinnati.

Chicago Bears: Leslie Frazier

The veteran coach and current defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills have one of the most extensive resumes of any coach on the market. Frazier is a strong leader with an assertive demeanor.

He was also a member of the Bears team that won the Super Bowl in 1985 and led the team with six interceptions that season. Therefore, he understands the Bears tradition and the type of soccer the fans want back.

Miami Dolphins: Jim Harbaugh

Owner Stephen Ross says he’s not taking Jim Harbaugh away from his alma mater, Michigan. But few people in the NFL believe that. Ross had an interest in Harbaugh in the past and once the dust settles from the firing of Brian Flores, he could make another run at the former NFL quarterback. As head coach of the 49ers, Harbaugh guided San Francisco to three NFC championship appearances and a runner-up finish in Super Bowl 47, where Harbaugh lost 34-31 to his brother, John, and the Ravens.

Alternate pick: Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, a creative offensive mind with stints as a coordinator on four different NFL teams and at Alabama, would be good for young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa if the Dolphins continue with the 2020 first-round pick.

New York Giants: Raheem Morris

Morris, the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, was born just 20 minutes from MetLife Stadium and knows the Giants’ tradition well. He also has an extensive resume. Morris, 45, became an NFL head coach (with the Buccaneers) at age 33 and led them to a 10-win campaign in 2010. Since then, he has been defensive backs coach at Washington, wide receivers coach at Atlanta, offensive passing game coordinator, defensive coordinator, and interim head coach for the Falcons before joining the Los Angeles staff this season. Passionate and high-energy, Morris connects well with players and is a great relationship builder.

Alternate Pick: Brian Flores is a Brooklyn native who has four Super Bowl rings as an assistant in New England and led the Dolphins to improvement in his three seasons as head coach. However, with Judge (another former Patriots assistant) failing, the Giants might be hesitant to go back to New England well.

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