NFL coach hiring predictions 2024: Projected landing spots for Bill Belichick, Jim Harbaugh, Ben Johnson and more

The NFL needs new head coaches for 25 percent of its teams in 2024. Through firings after the 2023 season, there are eight coaching vacancies. There is strong competition to hire the best potential candidates, from the successful biggest names to rising young stars.

While the Falcons, Panthers, Raiders, Chargers, Patriots, Seahawks, Titans and Commanders all conduct their thorough searches to replace their former coaches here are some bold predictions on who each team is most likely to hire:

MORE: Ranking the NFL’s open head coaching jobs, from best (Falcons) to worst (Panthers)

NFL coach hiring predictions 2024

Washington Commanders

Projected hire: Bill Belichick, former Patriots coach

The Commanders aren’t messing around with their first coaching search under new majority owner Josh Harris, putting every resource into getting it right so Washington goes back to being consistently competitive in the AFC East.

Harris has had Belichick on the radar ever since the possibility was real Belichick and the Patriots would part ways before ’24. The Commanders also are looking for an upgrade in leading their football operations. That lines up with giving Belichick familiar personnel and schematic power that he had in New England.

Belichick also would get a nice rebuilding environment as Washington has the No. 2 overall draft pick and eight more selections in April. The Commanders also have the most salary-cap space of any team in the NFL at more than $75 million. Belichick is also used to Maryland, have been raised in Annapolis with family ties to the Naval Academy. Everything lines up personally and professional, including the high profile of Washington’s franchise.

Los Angeles Chargers

Projected hire: Jim Harbaugh, Michigan coach

Could Harbaugh go from winning a national championship at his alma mater in Maize and Blue to back to coaching a California NFL team in Sunshine Gold and Power Blue? Keep in mind first he once quarterbacked the Chargers as a pro and also started his head-coaching career at the University of San Diego.

Harbaugh likes a challenge. He met that in San Francisco in getting the 49ers to the Super Bowl. He crushed it in Ann Arbor ending the Wolverines’ long national championship drought. The next would be trying to build a AFC title threat to the Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs with Justin Herbert and the Chargers. Of all the openings, no other team already has it potential elite QB. Who has it better than the Chargers with Harbaugh? Nobody.

Las Veges Raiders

Projected hire: Antonio Pierce, interim Raiders coach

Mark Davis should have given more consideration to the last interim coach, Rich Bisaccia, after he sparked the team well after Jon Gruden’s firing. Now he has a second chance after his quick dismissal of Josh McDaniels. Pierce led the team to a 5-4 finish following McDaniels’ mess.

The players love him. The players want lobbied for him to be the next coach, wanting to play for someone they trust and respect as one of their own. The key, anyway, is finding a better GM to replace fired Dave Ziegler to improve the personnel, not motivating the players to get the most out of them, which Pierce did and can continue to do.

New England Patriots

Projected hire: Jerod Mayo, Patriots defensive coordinator

Mike Vrabel has seemed like the automatic former star Patriots linebacker choice for Robert Kraft once Vrabel and Belichick were fired within days of each other. But Vrabel also may want more personnel and decision-making power than Kraft is willing to give his next coach, which is the reported reason things went south quickly for Vrabel with the Titans.

Going for an in-house successor makes more sense for Kraft and Mayo is the best candidate as a player-relating coach, the typical contrast from going from a career tactician. Mayo has prepped well as a candidate for a while and would represent an eased transition, getting the much-needed offensive help from a new lead personnel man.


Seattle Seahawks

Projected hire: Dan Quinn, Cowboys defensive coordinator

This one was is almost as easy as Pierce, or so it seems. The Seahawks are likely to go for an extension and associate of Carroll as long as he’s in an advisory role. Quinn has loved bringing energy and big-play flair to the Cowboys’ defense and has been biding his team to return to the NFL since his fine work with the Falcons, topped by a Super Bowl 51 trip. He also knows the Seattle culture well, having been one of Carroll’s former top coordinators.

MORE: Meet the NFL’s top rising coaching candidates for 2024

Atlanta Falcons

Projected hire: Bobby Slowik, Texans offensive coordinator

There will be some pressure for owner Arthur Blank to reel in one of the biggest fish, Belichick or Harbaugh. But another approach is going offensive-minded with something familiar and successful — a former associate of former ace offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Slowik has been incredible working with rookie QB C.J. Stroud with his 49ers- and Shanahan-like system in Houston. He is a bright schemer who also can energize young players, just like Texans defensive-minded rookie coach DeMeco Ryans has. It makes sense for Blank to go there and attach Slowik to the first-round QB the Falcons are bound to draft.

Eric Bieniemy

Tennessee Titans

Projected hire: Eric Bieniemy, Commanders offensive coordinator

The Titans are the ideal long-awaited head-coaching opportunity for Bieniemy. They need to attach Will Levis to a better offensive mind and Bieniemy’s work with Mahomes should have huge appeal in Tennessee, along with him knowing how important it is the team upgrade the offensive line and receiving corps. The 54-year-old would be welcome contrast to the battle-of-attrition overachiever Vrabel.

Carolina Panthers

Projected hire: Ben Johnson, Lions offensive coordinator

Speaking of attaching a bright offensive mind with a franchise high-draft QB, Johnson would be ideal to get Bryce Young back on track after operating a balanced, explosive attack in Detroit. The Panthers wasted no time in looking at him and Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and Young is a big enough draw to go to work under fickle owner David Tepper, for better (hopefully) or for worse.

For the Charlotte ties, Johnson is also a native of nearby Asheville, N.C and was. a quarterback at the University of North Carolina. At 37, he can be locked long-term to his lucrative liking for the no-holds-barred Tepper.

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