Black Monday in the NFL brings with it a legion of coaches and general managers bracing for the worst news on the day after the regular season.
The Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs are considered to be among the franchises most likely to begin 2013 searching for their next head coach.
After 14 seasons with Philadelphia, coach Andy Reid is to meet owner Jeffrey Lurie on Monday with an announcement to come afterward. Due $6 million in 2013 in the final year of his contract, Reid has said he wants to coach next year, but it’s possible Lurie could ask him to serve in an advisory role. Reid led Philadelphia to nine playoff appearances, six National Football Conference East division titles, four NFC championship games and one Super Bowl loss.
“I go in eyes wide open,” Reid said of his meeting with Lurie. “Either way, I understand. Whatever he chooses will be the right thing. He always does things for the best interests of the Eagles.”
Lurie said before this season that 8-8 would be “unacceptable.” The Eagles went 4-12 and lost 10 of the last 11 games, capped by a 42-7 thrashing by the New York Giants on Sunday.
If Reid coaches elsewhere next season, rumoured destinations include the Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals. Former Tampa coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden is one of the rumoured candidates for the Philadelphia job.
In San Diego, coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith are expected to be dismissed following the season ending win over Oakland, as the Chargers (7-9) missed the playoffs for the third straight season. Turner, 56-40 in six seasons with San Diego, is 24-24 the last three seasons.
The Bills have had back-to-back 6-10 seasons under Chan Gailey’s watch. GM Buddy Nix’s status is also to be reviewed by owner Ralph Wilson this week, according to the Buffalo News.
Detroit coach Jim Schwartz took the Lions to the playoffs last season, but a half-dozen players were arrested during the off-season and the Lions lost their last eight games, with Sunday’s 26-24 defeat by the Chicago Bears.
In Cleveland, second-year coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert are expecting pink slips. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer cited sources saying both men knew they would be fired but hadn’t received that official notice from owner Jimmy Haslam. Rumours have linked University of Alabama coach Nick Saban, once a Browns assistant under Bill Belichick, Gruden and Patriots offensive co-ordinator Josh McDaniels to the post. Former Browns and Raiders personnel executive Michael Lombardi is reportedly in the mix for the GM job.
With Romeo Crennel apparently out in Kansas City, the Chiefs having lost 38-3 to Denver on Sunday, the University of Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz is a rumoured replacement.
In 2008, Ken Whisenhunt had Arizona near a championship before Pittsburgh spoiled the party in the final minute of the Super Bowl. In his sixth season, regression on offence continued as the Cardinals finished 5-11, defeated 27-13 by San Francisco on Sunday.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will fire general manager Gene Smith, several news outlets reported on Sunday. Arizona Cardinals director of player personnel Jason Licht and San Francisco 49ers director of player personnel Tom Gamble are the top candidates for the job. The Jaguars reportedly want to keep coach Mike Mularkey, but the new GM will be left to make that decision. Mularkey, 51, is in his first season as the Jaguars coach.
The Jets are planning to fire offensive co-ordinator Tony Sparano, according to a report. In addition, owner Woody Johnson may restructure his front office. Sources told ESPN that coach Rex Ryan is likely to keep his job and is better off having general manager Mike Tannenbaum retained. However, CBS Sports reported that Tannenbaum will likely be fired.
With files from Reuters and The Associated Press.