The 2017 NFL regular season comes to a close today, and tomorrow Monday brings with it Black Monday. Thankfully the San Francisco 49ers will not be searching for a new head coach this year, but it will be busy for plenty of other teams.
The New York Giants already fired head coach Ben McAdoo, and Sunday and Monday will bring a host of firings and or mutual departures. Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is expected to step down, and there have been some rumors Bruce Arians (Arizona Cardinals) will as well. Arians has denied it, but we will see what happens Sunday and Monday.
No other firings are official, but there are plenty of reports heading into Sunday’s action. Ian Rapoport is reporting Jim Caldwell (Detroit Lions) and Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis Colts) are out, and Mike Mularkey (Tennessee Titans) is in danger of getting canned. Bill O’Brien is expected to remain in Houston, but there are concerns about a toxic relationship with GM Rick Smith.
Adam Schefter is reporting John Fox (Chicago Bears) is not expected back after this season. Schefter is also reporting Vance Joseph (Denver Broncos) is out the door after only one season. Given how bad John Elway has been at drafting or signing a long-term option at quarterback, it’s insane that they are dumping Joseph so quickly. I feel bad for Joseph, but don’t feel bad for Elway. We’ll see how stubborn he remains in his process.
Where it could get particularly crazy is in the Bay Area. The 49ers aren’t going to be searching for a new head coach, but the Oakland Raiders appear to be on the hunt for Jon Gruden. ESPN reported on Saturday that the Raiders are “preparing to pursue  Gruden with an offer so strong it could even include an ownership stake in the team.”
Tim Kawakami pointed out the importance of this being reported by ESPN, given that Gruden is an ESPN announcer. The report included a quotation from Gruden who did not deny hearing from the Raiders. It does not mean a deal will get done, but this seems further along than we’ve seen with Gruden in recent years. Does this mean the Raiders will fire Jack Del Rio soon to begin the process, or do they wait and see how interested Gruden actually is?
Naturally, there are odds on how many new coaches we will see in 2018. Bet Online has set the line at 7.5 new head coaches for 2018. There are no guarantees for a lot of these potential firings, but if most of them hit and the Raiders do push for Jon Gruden, we could easily hit eight new head coaches without breaking a sweat. But given how Gruden can be, I’m inclined to bet the under for now.