2023 NFL Coaching Tracker: Latest News, Rumors and Buzz

Sunday, Jan. 8

Broncos Interviewing Harbaugh

The Broncos will interview University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh for their open head coach position, NFL Media reported. The interview is expected to take place this coming week.

Harbaugh said last week he expected to be the coach of the Wolverines in 2023. However, he did not officially declare he’d return to Michigan and did not deny NFL coaching rumors.

Harbaugh was the 49ers’ head coach from 2011-14, and he finished with a 44-19-1 record there to go along with three NFC Championship Game appearances and one Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl XLVII. He has led the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff two straight seasons and has won two consecutive Big Ten titles.

The Broncos fired Nathaniel Hackett just 15 games into his first season in Denver. They have also been granted permission by the Saints to talk with Sean Payton about their opening.

Cardinals Doing Work on Candidates

Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill has begun to research coaching candidates, although it’s still unclear if the team will fire Kliff Kingsbury, NFL Media reported.

Kingsbury spoke with Bidwill every day this past week about his job security but was not informed of a decision prior to Sunday’s game against the 49ers. Arizona’s situation is complicated as Kingsbury was extended through 2027 this past offseason, and GM Steve Keim has taken a leave of absence from his role.

Pro Football Talk on Saturday reported that the Cardinals are interested in speaking to the Saints about Sean Payton.

In his column on Thursday regarding potential coaching changes, Joe Banner of The 33rd Team said he believes Kingsbury already knows his fate.

“Kingsbury knows the score: There may be no tomorrow,” Banner wrote. “But that can happen when you have one winning season in four years, you’ve lost your only playoff game, you’ve failed three times to finish higher than third in your division, and you’ve dropped 17 of your past 22 games.”

Saturday, Jan. 7

Report: McVay’s Rams Future in Limbo

Sean McVay’s tenure as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams could be over soon, ESPN reported on Saturday.

According to multiple ESPN sources, McVay is expected to take some time off after Sunday’s season finale at Seattle to determine if he’ll return in 2023. Coming off a Super Bowl title, the Rams enter Sunday with a disappointing 5-11 record, McVay’s first losing season since being hired by the Rams in 2017.

In his column on Thursday about potential coaching changes we might see after the season, Joe Banner of The 33rd Team speculated on McVay.

“I believe we’re seeing visible signs of coach burnout,” wrote Banner, the former front office executive for the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns. “It would be a shame if he walked away because he’s a really good coach and a really good guy. But there are times when you can see how, when things aren’t going well, just how pained he is.

“The intensity and the grind of being a head coach are things most people can’t survive for long. You can’t do these jobs well unless you’re so beyond all in, and that’s virtually impossible to fathom if you’ve never been close to it. But it’s the reality. He just looks pained. His angst is on his face. All I know is that you can see it.”

Sources told ESPN this season has taken a toll on McVay, who is under contract with the Rams through 2026, and needs time to figure out if he can continue or needs time away from the game.

“He may decide that he’s going to fight through this and keep going, and that’s more likely than not,” Banner wrote. “But we’ve seen a few head coaches like Sean Payton make what I’d call ‘mental-health’ or ‘happiness’ decisions. I look at McVay and think he could be next.”

Broncos Receive Permission to Interview Payton

The Denver Broncos, who fired Nathaniel Hackett on Dec. 26, have requested and received permission from the New Orleans Saints to interview former coach Sean Payton for their head coaching vacancy, ESPN reported. The Saints and Broncos, according to NFL Network, are “on the same page” in terms of potential trade compensation.

Meanwhile, Pro Football Talk reported that the Cardinals, who have not made a decision on whether Kliff Kingsbury will return, are interested in speaking to the Saints about Payton,

The report also states the NFL won’t allow Payton to interview with any team prior to Jan. 17. Payton retired from coaching when he was with the Saints, with whom he won Super Bowl XLIV, in January 2022. He worked with Fox Sports as a studio analyst for the 2022 season.

Lovie Smith’s Future Up in Air

Coach Lovie Smith and his future with the team is very much “up in the air” heading into Sunday’s season finale against the Colts, according to NFL Media.

Smith is in his first season with the Texans as their head coach, he has been with the team since 2021 serving as a defensive assistant prior. His first year as the team’s head coach has been less than ideal with the team having a record of 2-13-1 heading into Sunday’s game.

If fired, it would mark consecutive seasons where the Texans have relieved a head coach after just one season after firing David Culley at the end of the 2021 season.

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