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NFL coaching carousel: Ranking the most attractive openings

The 2018-19 NFL coaching carousel kicked off with a round of anouncements Monday morning. We’re ranking how attractive each of the eight openings are for prospective candidates.

The Black Monday routine that comes after the conclusion of the NFL season inevitably leads to sweeping changes across the league. The 2018-19 coaching carousel began early this season as Green Bay fired Mike McCarthy and Cleveland axed Hue Jackson prior to the end of the season.

A flurry of announcements came in after the final whistle sounded Sunday night and into Monday morning, leading to eight openings for prospective head coaching candidates.

With the New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers joining Cleveland and Green Bay in a search for new leadership, it’s time to evaluate each of the openings for how desirable they are. Incumbent talent matters, but so does the salary cap health, number of draft assets, and current power structure when compiling which jobs are more coveted.

We’ll break it down from eight to one, highlighting the critical factors that each candidate will surely consider.

8. Least Attractive: Arizona Cardinals

2018 was truly a disastrous year for the Arizona Cardinals. On paper, the team appeared ready to compete for a potential Wild Card berth. The roster had enough veteran talent to help carry some of the young players set to earn their first significant roles, and new head coach Steve Wilks had helped orchestrate a quality defense in Carolina.

So what went wrong to the point Wilks was fired just one-year in?

At 3-13, little went right for the Cardinals. Their heirarchy proved ineffective, as general manager Steve Keim’s roster building has been exposed as flawed once their investments hit the field. Wilks appeared out of his depth from the start, making him one of the rare one-and-done coaches.

Without a quality offensive line to help protect quarterback Josh Rosen, and the team lacking receiver depth to elevate him, this situation is a major project for an offensive coach. The team needs to dump considerable resources into the unit in order to protect Rosen, who played much better than the statistics would indicate. He was one of the lone bright spots with the team.

The defense still has Chandler Jones, Patrick Peterson, and Budda Baker to build around, but key questions exist all-around them. Peterson could be moved as the team strips down to rebuild, but I’d argue he gives greater value on the roster than a late-first or second-round pick.

Along with $60 million in cap space and a little room to create more, and a full cupboard of draft picks, there’s some positives for a new coach. But it takes some squinting and faith that Keim can all of a sudden figure out how to address the offensive line and cornerback positions. I don’t share that optimism.

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