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NFL Coaches Most Likely to Get Fired After 2017 Season
All odds on the following NFL head coaches being fired come via 5Dimes and are accurate as of Dec. 9. Be sure to double-check these lines before placing a bet, as they can be fluid. Our top five candidates will be presented in increasing order of job instability as of Week 14.
Please note that interim head coaches, like Steve Spagnuolo in New York, are not up for consideration, as they're considered temporary placeholders to begin with. The same goes for coaches who aren't under contract beyond this season, like Marvin Williams in Cincinnati, since they technically wouldn't be fired if they aren't brought back.
6. Todd Bowles, New York Jets (+750)
Todd Bowles felt like a lame-duck head coach entering this season. The New York Jets projected as the NFL's absolute worst team, and ownership was expected to ditch the entire front office, including general manager Mike Maccagnan, after they secured a top draft pick and set themselves up to draft a potential franchise quarterback under a new regime.
That still might happen. But, more likely than not, it won't.
Bowles has coached the Jets within two games of a .500 record, something no one saw coming entering this year. How much credit he deserves for them building an average-to-above-average offense around quarterback Josh McCown remains to be seen. And this season almost feels like a lesser version of 2015, when the Jets doubled down on an overachieving squad.
Of course, New York won't be doubling down on this nucleus. The Jets need a quarterback of the future, and they know he's not on the roster. They'll end up using their middle, or maybe kind-of-early first-rounder, on a new body behind center. But it still looks like Bowles has coached himself into another year of job security—unless the Jets are actually turned off by this year's record and the fact it doesn't set them up for a top-five pick.
5. Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals (+5500)
Remember when the Arizona Cardinals were in the NFC championship? It wasn't that long ago. In fact, it was barely two years ago (2015).
And yet, it feels like forever ago. The Cardinals' downward spiral has been swift and unforgiving since then. Both their defense and quarterback Carson Palmer have deteriorated right before our eyes.
Head coach Bruce Arians is not totally responsible for this season's letdown. The team lost both Palmer and David Johnson, who is considered by many to be the best running back in the league. The Cardinals' playoff hopes were shot from the moment Johnson went down in Week 1.
Arians, 65, also has just one year left on his contract. Most expect him to retire when his deal is up, and the Cardinals may not be ready to usher in a rebuild this offseason anyway. They could decide to run it back with him and Palmer for another go-round, then chase a clean slate when Arians shuffles off into retirement after the 2018 season.
Then again, the Cardinals could also see this as an easy out. They might want someone younger and more innovative to lead them moving forward, and where many teams have to eat multiple years on a deal when canning head coaches, they only need to stomach one.
4. Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3300)
Dirk Koetter is a default pick here.
He is only two years into his tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and, in 2016, coached them to their first winning season since 2010. But that good juju has long since worn off.
The Bucs brought in Koetter to work magic with quarterback Jameis Winston and the offense in general. And things haven't gone according to plan. Far from it. Winston has shown flashes but has seemingly peaked as a middle-of-the-road quarterback, and every advanced metric considers the Bucs offense to be below average.
Depending on how far under .500 they finish this year, Koetter could find himself looking for work elsewhere.
3. Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts (+120)
Andrew Luck missing all of this season actually helps Chuck Pagano. How can the Indianapolis Colts fire him for coaching a bad team without its franchise quarterback to a record reflecting exactly that?
Most of the time, they couldn't, or at least wouldn't. But Pagano isn't the head coach of choice for this front office regime. They inherited him after the Colts canned their previous general manager last January.
Anytime something like this happens, jobs are liable to roll. Front office regimes like to leave their mark on a situation; they like to make sure everything about the organization is fully representative of their intended direction, because their jobs are on the line as well.
Bad luck (sorry) may have just bought every suit involved with the team another year of worry-free job status. But until we know this front office regime is fully behind Pagano, he ostensibly sits on one of the NFL's hottest seats.
2. John Fox, Chicago Bears (+700)
Few people expect John Fox to be back with the Chicago Bears next season.
Entering Week 14, he's won just 12 total games during his three seasons at the helm. He hasn't an inherited the best personnel, but the Bears are gearing up for what appears to be an extensive rebuild marked by a higher-powered offense. And that isn't Fox's specialty.
Defense is his bag, and the Bears have been an above-average unit on that side of the ball this season. That could help him salvage his job, wins and losses be damned. It also helps that the Bears are similar to the New York Giants: They don't like making wholesale changes unless they absolutely have to.
And where McAdoo pushed Giants ownership over the edge due to his culpability in the Eli Manning benching, Fox has created no such ripples in Chicago. He could be safe. But it seems more likely the Bears clean house this winter as they search for a new sustainable direction.
1. Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns (+300)
Hue Jackson and the Cleveland Browns do not seem long for one another.
After coaching the team to a 1-15 record last season, his second-ever as a head honcho and first with the Browns, Jackson is presently presiding over an 0-12 squad that could realistically finish the campaign without a victory. A 1-31 record is enough to do anyone in, no matter how long they've been around.
The Browns, were supposed to, as per usual, show some level of progress this year. They've instead regressed in just about every area, without receiving noticeable advancements from their key youngsters.
Equally important: Cleveland just fired general manager Sashi Brown and then almost immediately hired his replacement in John Dorsey. The timing of the move took some by surprise; these types of shakeups are rare so deep in the season. But the Giants would have been sniffing around Dorsey for their own general manager position, and the Browns didn't want to risk losing him.
Not that the timing of the change matters for Jackson's purposes. It only matters that the Browns are shifting course at all. As noted with the Colts, newly installed front office regimes often like to hire their own head coach. And given the swiftness with which the Browns hired Dorsey, we can only assume they're prepared to give him carte blanche from the jump—which, almost needless to say, doesn't portend anything good for Jackson.
*All stats come courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference and are accurate leading into games being played during Week 14 unless otherwise cited.
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