Who Are Most Likely Giants Head Coach Candidates?

Photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

After much deliberation, the New York Giants made the popular decision to relieve head coach Joe Judge of his duties. The Giants now join the Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, and Jacksonville Jaguars as franchises searching for a new head coach this cycle. The retirement of general manager Dave Gettleman gives the Giants an opportunity to bring in a GM and head coach that share the same vision for how they want to build their program from a philosophical perspective. 

The Giants currently own two selections in the top 10 of the 2022 NFL Draft and may represent an intriguing destination for any and all would-be head coaching candidates. After firing three consecutive head coaches after a two-year span (Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur), it's imperative for John Mara and Steve Tisch to finally find a long-term solution at the position.

BetOnline recently updated their odds while ranking the candidates. They are as follows:

  • Doug Pederson, former Eagles head coach (+400)
  • Brian Daboll, Bills offensive coordinator (+475)
  • Brian Flores, former Dolphins head coach (+500)
  • Eric Bienemy, Chiefs offensive coordinator (+500)
  • Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines head coach (+600)
  • Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator (+700)
  • Byron Leftwich, Buccaneers offensive coordinator (+700)
  • Patrick Graham, Giants defensive coordinator (+750)
  • Kellen Moore, Cowboys offensive coordinator (9/1)
  • Todd Bowles, Buccaneers defensive coordinator (9/1)
  • Jim Caldwell, former Lions and Colts head coach (12/1)

THE FAVORITE AND MY PICK: DOUG PEDERSON

Witnessing Pederson return to the comforts of the NFC East would provide quality entertainment in abundance. Pederson spent the 2021 campaign on the sidelines following his dismissal from the Philadelphia Eagles. However, it’s easy to understand why Mara and Tisch may find Pederson to be an incredibly intriguing candidate. 

The Giants had a front-row seat to Pederson's successful tenure as head coach of the Eagles. Pederson delivered a Super Bowl to the city of Brotherly Love with an impressive and unforeseen triumph over Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. An offensive-minded head coach and former NFL quarterback, Pederson would represent an ideal coaching candidate to work alongside Daniel Jones, or another young signal-caller should New York go in a different direction at the quarterback position.

The Giants could be looking for a steadying presence following the departures of Judge and Gettleman. Three head coaches in six seasons indicate a fundamental issue that the Giants' ownership group must address. The hirings of McAdoo and Judge were considered bold appointments that ultimately failed miserably. Perhaps the Giants should consider a proven winner. You could do a lot worse than Pederson.

DON’T SLEEP ON: PATRICK GRAHAM

The current defensive coordinator, the Giants have yet to officially relieve Patrick Graham of his duties despite Judge's dismissal and there may be a clear reason why. Although it's largely expected for a head coach's staff to follow them out the exit door, Graham represents a relatively unique situation for a variety of reasons.

The 42-year-old Graham has experienced a successful NFL coaching career that began as a Patriots coaching assistant in 2009. Graham has since served as Miami's defensive coordinator before agreeing to reunite with his former Patriots cohort Judge in New York ahead of the 2020 campaign. Graham received interest from the New York Jets last offseason before they filled their head coaching vacancy with Robert Saleh. Graham is expected to be a popular name on the campaign trail once again.

Mara and Tisch have shown a tendency to promote from within before. McAdoo served as the Giants' offensive coordinator before replacing Tom Coughlin as the head coach. Graham now finds himself in a similar situation and could be the right man for the job.

A WORTHY CANDIDATE: TODD BOWLES

Todd Bowles represents one of the retread options on the market and that's not an insult. The 58-year-old Bowles has done an excellent job rehabilitating his reputation as the current defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bowles' haunting defense stole the show in Super Bowl LV as a talented, energetic, and well-coached front seven catapulted the Buccaneers to victory over Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Bowles returned to the Buccaneers in 2021 and has an excellent chance to capture his second consecutive Super Bowl ring as a well-established coordinator that implements the scheme and calls the plays for a championship-caliber defense.

Bowles failed to get the Jets where he wanted them to be throughout his four-year tenure as their head coach, but the Jets haven't exactly done any winning since dismissing him, either. Bowles has earned the right for a second opportunity to lead a franchise. He’s proven himself plenty adequate in recent years. He may be hesitant to return to the great state of New York after his experience with the Jets, but the Giants would be wise to consider him a strong, legitimate candidate.

Written By:

Justin Melo

Staff Writer

Justin Melo is an NFL draft analyst that cut his teeth at The Draft Breakdown and USA Today's Draft Wire. He specializes in interviewing prospects, but also produces big boards, mock drafts, and scouting reports. He also covers the Tennessee Titans nationally for Broadway Sports Media and SB Nation.

Connect: