It is inevitable every NFL season – which coaches are on the hot seat even before kickoff in Week 1 and which coach will be the first to be fired.
Below, we have the latest odds via Oddsshark as of 7/21/22, of which head coaches could find themselves unemployed sooner rather than later. Scroll down to read our picks for who to take:
Matt Rhule, Panthers +300
Mike McCarthy, Cowboys +450
Pete Carroll, Seahawks +600
Frank Reich, Colts +700
Ron Rivera, Commanders +800
Kevin Stefanski, Browns +1000
Dan Campbell, Lions +1000
Mike Vrabel, Titans +1200
Kliff Kingsbury, Cardinals +1200
Robert Saleh, Jets +1400
Arthur Smith, Falcons +1400
John Harbaugh, Ravens +1600
Safe Bet – Matt Rhule
Since he entered the NFL, it has been a struggle for Matt Rhule and the Panthers. Since his inaugural season with the team, Rhule has dealt with Teddy Bridgewater, PJ Walker, Sam Darnold, and Cam Newton, attempting to establish themselves as the franchise quarterback. Until just a few weeks ago, it appeared Rhule was about to be dealt another long season of inconsistent and disappointing QB play. However, the front office stepped in and acquired disgruntled QB Baker Mayfield from the Browns in a steal of a deal.
Enter Mayfield, who is one season removed from leading the Browns to an AFC playoff and almost upset the Chiefs in the 2021 postseason. Yet, the success was not repeated last season as a shoulder injury Mayfield sustained in Week 2 and never fully recovered. Now, Mayfield has a new team and a unique chance to prove his naysayers wrong.
Still, this is as much a gamble for the front office as it is for Rhule. There’s no question that Rhule’s job security will depend on how well Mayfield performs. If Baker injects some life into the club and gears Carolina toward a potential playoff berth, then management may decide to extend Rhule’s stay. However, if Baker cannot revive this squad, then there is no doubt that Rhule will find himself unemployed in the offseason. I think Baker will excel, and Rhule will remain head coach. Still, Rhule is the safe bet to make.
Risky Bet – Kevin Stefanski
I can guarantee that Kevin Stefanski could never have predicted the turmoil and drama that would encompass his Browns squad this offseason. Between trading for controversial QB DeShaun Watson, dealing with the fallout of his suspension and now the league’s appeal, and the entire Baker Mayfield spectacle, this offseason and training camp has been the perfect storyline for a season of “Hard Knocks.”
Let’s be honest. In no way should Stefanski shoulder the blame should the Browns falter this season. We still do not know if Watson’s six-game suspension will be elongated or reduced following the appeal, nor do we know if Watson will be the explosive MVP candidate he was with the Texans. After all, Watson takes over a team that has moved on from Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. in exchange for former Cowboys wideout Amari Cooper.
Needless to say, this is still the Browns, and there will be a scapegoat should Cleveland miss the playoffs once again – and you can bet the fingers will point toward Stefanski. It’s a reach but not out of the question.
Sleeper Bet – Kliff Kingsbury
After the Browns, the Cardinals rank at the top with the most melodrama this offseason. Star wideout DeAndre Hopkins received a six-game suspension following a positive PED test, and QB Kyler Murray threatened to demand a trade if his contract extension was not resolved. Murray also had a public spat with the team about a clause in his contract about mandatory film study for four hours minimum per week. This caused an immediate negative backlash, which resulted in the requirement being removed from the agreement. The newly acquired WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown was arrested last week for criminal speeding.
These distractions follow an all-time embarrassing performance in the NFC Wild Card game against the Rams in which the Cardinals played like a junior varsity squad that didn’t belong in the big leagues.
There is no denying Kingsbury’s success as a coach. However, if the Cardinals regress, he will be the one carrying the brunt of the criticism. Now that Arizona has Murray locked up for years to come, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think management will opt for a new direction for the team, especially if the coach and QB butt heads. There is good value with this sleeper pick.