All five NFL head coaching vacancies have now been filled. Several ascending coordinators such as DeMeco Ryans, Shane Steichen, and Jonathan Gannon landed leading gigs. Five openings represented a bit of a soft cycle. It indicates the 2024 hiring process could be more aggressive while seeing more vacancies.
Various coordinators will attempt to follow the blueprint set forth by Ryans, Gannon, and Steichen this coming campaign. There are several impressive candidates who could soon be leading a franchise. We’ve identified three NFL offensive and defensive coordinators that could become head coaches in 2024.
KELLEN MOORE, CHARGERS OC
Kellen Moore has come awfully close to landing a head coaching job over the previous two cycles. Moore fell just short, however. A reported mutual parting of the ways with Mike McCarthy and the Dallas Cowboys could ironically be the final push Moore requires.
Moore agreed to become the Los Angeles Chargers’ new offensive coordinator. By swiftly accepting their offer, Moore inherited a franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert. It was a wise and potentially career-defining move for Moore.
Los Angeles represents the perfect landing spot for Moore. The previous offensive coordinator (Joe Lombardi) failed to take advantage of the high-level weapons at his disposal. Moore should easily improve the Chargers’ offense, which could do wonders for his league-wide reputation.
Coordinating the Chargers’ offense in 2023 should help Moore seal the deal as a head coach in 2024.
STEVE WILKS, 49ERS DC
New 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks may feel like he was done wrong by the Carolina Panthers franchise. Wilks did an excellent job as the Panthers’ interim coach down the stretch. Wilks was a finalist to remain in the role permanently, but the Panthers hired Frank Reich instead.
Wilks’ defensive coordinating services were immediately in demand. Wilks took the best available job, which happened to be in San Francisco. Wilks immediately inherits a league-leading defense that’s loaded with elite talent. Wilks should have no problem getting top-tier defensive production from this unit.
Working as Kyle Shanahan’s defensive coordinator has delivered a clear pathway to head coaching opportunities for previous coaches. Both of Shanahan’s former defensive coordinators (Robert Saleh and Ryans) are currently head coaches elsewhere. We expect Wilks to make it three straight.
MIKE KAFKA, GIANTS OC
Giants head coach Brian Daboll rightfully won the 2022 NFL Coach of the Year honor. Daboll’s offensive coordinator Mike Kafka did an equally impressive job. Kafka interviewed in Carolina and Arizona but was passed over for Reich and Gannon. If the Giants maintain their current level of success, Kafka will be hired in 2024.
In their first season together, Kafka and Daboll transformed a Giants offense that ranked 31st in the NFL in scoring and yardage in 2021. Kafka’s creative play-calling helped catapult hot-seat quarterback Daniel Jones into franchise quarterback territory. Kafka’s efforts helped deliver the Giants’ first playoff victory in 11 years.
Kafka, a former NFL quarterback, began his coaching career under Andy Reid in Kansas City. Candidates from the Reid coaching tree are in especially high demand right now. Kafka’s name already appears on many shortlists ahead of the 2023 campaign.
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