Two of the head coach openings for 2020 have been filled, with Ron Rivera joining the Redskins and Mike McCarthy joining the Cowboys. But which teams are best set up for the new coaches to have success next season and beyond? These are the top openings of the five jobs that were or are available this offseason.
1. New York Giants
There are a number of obvious positives for the Giants job, but it starts with young franchise quarterback Daniel Jones, who showed major promise during his rookie season. Also, the New York franchise is one of the most storied and iconic in football, and the normally-stable Giants have fired their previous two head coaches after just two seasons each, so it seems very unlikely that the next head coach will get a short leash, too. The lone concern is that if general manager Dave Gettleman is fired in a year or two, it could turn out to be bad news for the new coach despite the aforementioned likely-long leash. But Gettleman has stocked the roster with high-upside young talent to work with.
2. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys job is a close second, and they are primarily ranked No. 2 because some coaches might not like working with a highly-public owner like Jerry Jones. However, the talent on Dallas’ roster is undeniable: a top offensive line, a franchise quarterback, the league’s highest-paid running back, a strong receiving corps, and a defense that has arguably underachieved. Former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy should have a ton of success with his new team.
3. Carolina Panthers
The NFL’s newest owner, David Tepper, is making his first head coaching hire, so he’s undoubtedly going to be meticulous and will want to show that he makes the right decision, so the new coach should get time to right the ship. The defense has cornerstone linebackers in Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson, with the workhorse running back Christian McCaffrey leading the offense. The major positive for Carolina is that it looks like a bit of a clean-slate type of job. The new coach will be able to retain former league MVP Cam Newton or go in an entirely different direction at quarterback, which is a good problem to have.
4. Washington Redskins
Ron Rivera moved quickly to secure a gig by taking the Redskins opening, and it sounds like he is excited to work with the pieces on defense like Landon Collins, Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat, and Ryan Kerrigan. Offensively, Washington has the players in place for a powerful rushing attack to complement a stingy defense, and the entire team will get a boost if star left tackle Trent Williams returns in 2020. Finally, first-round quarterback Dwayne Haskins showed considerable progress throughout his rookie year.
5. Cleveland Browns
All the head coach openings look pretty good this year, but the Browns are ranked as the least desirable destination for a couple of big reasons. One, it appears to be a bit of a circus in Cleveland with the way some of the players acted this season, and the hype of the team’s players far outweighs any team success they’ve had throughout their careers—perhaps all the talent will click and turn into a winning squad, or perhaps the team needs to be completely gutted. And two, the power structure in the front office is unclear at this point, and there could be issues if responsibilities are not clearly laid out. It seems many people around the NFL would be excited to work with Baker Mayfield at quarterback, though, which is a critical factor in head coaching jobs.