Ranking head coaching opportunities after Black Monday firings

It's the end of the NFL regular season and the start of the NFL Playoffs, but before the successful teams make a run at the Lombardi Trophy, some of the bad teams are doing a system reset. Which job opening is the most appealing?

Jan 7, 2024; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll talks with Seattle
Jan 7, 2024; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll talks with Seattle / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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As the smoke clears from Black Monday, there are now six job openings for NFL head coaches. This might not even be it, as the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, and maybe even the Los Angeles Rams (those Sean McVay broadcasting rumors will be back and better than ever once the Rams get eliminated) could see openings in the next few weeks if things change.

However, let's focus on the six openings right now. These six teams are all in a similar position. They all missed the playoffs in 2023-24. None were a crazy surprise when word came out that their respective head coach was relieved of their duties. Some happened in the middle of the season, while others waited until this past Tuesday to drop the news.

There are some incredible head coaching candidates out there. Outside of the fired candidates landing on their feet in a new home, the reigning National Champion Jim Harbaugh is going to foray into NFL interviews again. There is the normal laundry list of coordinators looking for head coaching jobs as there are every year. Some are already interviewing for jobs despite preparing for the playoffs.

Which one of these jobs is actually desirable? We know there are only 32 of these jobs, and head coaches will take what they can get, but there will be some jobs that are just more desired because of the roster left behind, the ownership group and front office in place, and of course, the quarterback. Let's start this list with a team that might be missing all three.

8. Carolina Panthers
Former Head Coach: Frank Reich
Next Head Coach: Eric Bieniemy

The Carolina Panthers are by far the worst head coaching opportunity available. They don't have a first-round pick, despite it being the first-overall pick. They sent it to the Chicago Bears so they could make the first-overall pick last season. Reports say the coaching staff wanted CJ Stroud, who is the likely Rookie of the Year to play for the Texans (unless Puka Nacua can steal it from him).

With that number-one pick, the Panthers instead selected Bryce Young. He was a mess this season, and the offense was buried week in and week out. Young looked worse than Andy Dalton most weeks. The next head coach will have one job: fix Bryce Young. He was inexcusable with the ball. He made the wrong decision more often than not. It wasn't all Young's fault. The offense was a mess after trading DJ Moore in that deal with the Bears.

The Panthers have issues everywhere, but the quarterback is the most important fix. While the Panthers have vocalized nine head coaching candidates, and none of them are current Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, this first round of interviews won't matter. Bieniemy has a record of getting the most out of dynamic quarterbacks. Even this season, with the mess that was the Commanders, he got the most out of Sam Howell.

Bieniemy has been waiting for a head coaching opportunity for a long time. He won't be picky, and he will look at this situation as an opportunity. David Tepper reportedly threw a drink at an opposing fan, and that's just not the best look for an owner. He will look to make positive headlines, and this will be that. It will be a long offseason in Carolina, but Bieniemy will be the right choice in the long run.