The Chicago Bears are likely going to be in the market for a new head coach this offseason, as Matt Nagy is expected to be fired at season’s end. But they won’t be the only ones.
The Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars are the two teams currently with head coaching vacancies, which allows them to get a head start on interviewing head coaches within the final two weeks of the regular season.
The Jaguars have already put in for a slew of interview requests for a number of head coaching candidates — not all of which have been accepted — which gives us a good idea of where the market could be headed.
Here’s a look at those coaching candidates already garnering interest among teams in search of a head coach, which should intrigue the Bears before they begin their own.
Byron Leftwich (Bucs offensive coordinator)
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The Jaguars have requested to interview Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who is believed to be a favorite among Jacksonville. Leftwich has been with Tampa Bay for the last three seasons, where he’s learned under Bruce Arians. He’s had success both with Jameis Winston and Tom Brady during that span. Leftwich has called plays for the Buccaneers for the last two seasons, where he’s had a chance to build his offense. If Chicago wants to take a chance on a young offensive mind to develop Fields, Leftwich is an intriguing option.
Todd Bowles (Bucs defensive coordinator)
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Another top head coaching candidate is Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who Jacksonville has also requested to interview. Bowles boasts more than 20 years of NFL coaching experience, which includes previously serving as the Jets head coach from 2015-18. While that didn’t wind up being a success, that’s not to say he can’t find success in his next stop. Bowles is someone with past coaching experience and with a defensive background, which would make finding a top offensive coordinator to develop Fields and get this Bears offense on track a top priority.
Kellen Moore (Cowboys offensive coordinator)
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Another young offensive mind that’s expected to be a strong candidate in this coaching cycle is Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who the Jaguars have requested to interview. Moore has been with the Cowboys since 2018, where he’s helped develop Dak Prescott into an elite quarterback, where the hope would be he could do the same with Fields. Moore does lack experience — and he’s in his first year as offensive coordinator with Dallas — but he could be someone worth taking a chance on.
Dan Quinn (Cowboys defensive coordinator)
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Jacksonville also requested to interview Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn for their vacant head coaching job, but Quinn denied the interview. Before joining Dallas, Quinn served as the Falcons head coach from 2015 to 2020. Quinn is another defensive-minded head coaching prospect who boasts 20 years of NFL coaching experience and could certainly be an intriguing option for the Bears, who reportedly were considering hiring Quinn back in 2015 before going with John Fox.
Doug Pederson (Former Eagles head coach)
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Former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is slated to interview for Jacksonville’s vacant head coaching position, and he’s someone who should be an intriguing candidate this coaching cycle. Pederson, who led Philadelphia to a Super Bowl champion in 2017, has a decade-plus of coaching experience and is famously from the Andy Reid coaching tree. While Chicago might want to stay clear of another Reid disciple, Pederson has had far more success than Nagy has and could be an intriguing option for the Bears.
Matt Eberflus (Colts defensive coordinator)
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Jacksonville has also put in an interview request for Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, who is also expected to be a top coaching candidate this cycle. Eberflus appears poised to become an NFL head coach sooner rather than later, as evidenced by past interviews with the Jets and Texans last year. He’s another defensive-minded guy that would be an intriguing prospect for the Bears, as one of the league’s up-and-comers. Getting an offensive coordinator in place to develop Fields and fix the offense would be a focus.
Nathaniel Hackett (Packers offensive coordinator)
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Another intriguing coaching candidate this offseason is shaping up to be Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who the Jaguars have requested to interview. Hackett has served as the offensive coordinator for the Packers, Jaguars and Bills. He’s been with Green Bay as offensive coordinator since 2019, where he’s helped lead the Packers’ high-powered offense. He’s another offensive guy who could prove to be enticing for Chicago — especially if they can pry him from Green Bay.
Leslie Frazier (Bills defensive coordinator)
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The Jaguars have requested to interview Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier for their vacant head coaching position. Frazier served as the Vikings head coach from 2011-13, as well as several stops as defensive coordinators with the Bengals, Vikings, Bucs and now Bills. Chicago has already been linked to be Bears this year, so it’s fair to assume he’ll be among those who interview.
Jim Caldwell (Former head coach)
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Former Lions head coach Jim Caldwell is scheduled to have an interview for the Jaguars’ head coaching vacancy. Caldwell has nearly 20 years of coaching experience at the NFL level alone, which includes having served as the head coach for the Lions (2014-17) and Colts (2009-11). If the Bears are interested in bringing in someone with past coaching experience, Caldwell is one to consider.