When Can NFL Teams Hire New Coaches? Sean Payton, Kliff Kingsbury, Lovie Smith, Jim Harbaugh and more battle it out for the top spot

The 2023 NFL management carousel officially kicks off in the coming days. It will probably continue very dramatically than before.

The Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos are the five clubs with managerial vacancies. The Los Angeles Rams may also be looking for a new head coach in the coming days. Along with an excellent collection of defensive and offensive coaches, Sean Payton and Jim Harbaugh can be on the front line for owners.

There are more regulations for commissioners in the NFL than in other sports. Under the terms of the contract, teams must obtain permission before being allowed to interview a coach, and the time of day and sometimes even the time they can take place is tightly controlled.

The 2023 NFL interview schedule was announced Tuesday. It runs from Tuesday to February 13th.

Explore some coaches that could be at the top of NFL teams’ wish lists

#1 – Cliff Kingsbury

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury watches before the game against the New England Patriots
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury watches before the game against the New England Patriots

The Arizona Cardinals sacked Kliff Kingsbury Monday after a disappointing 2022 season. Kingsbury only managed a 28-37-1 record in his four years in office.

There’s no real urgency for Kingsbury to look for a new job as Arizona extended his contract with them to 2027 a year ago. Nonetheless, other NFL teams will certainly be interested in hiring a coach with Kingsbury’s college management credentials.

#2 – Lovie Smith

Houston Texans head coach Lovie Smith looks on during the second half of the game against the Indianapolis Colts
Houston Texans head coach Lovie Smith looks on during the second half of the game against the Indianapolis Colts

After a season as the Houston Texans head coach and a 3-13-1 record, Lovie Smith was fired Monday. Houston, who fired David Culley after the 2021 season, has had its second coach removed for the past two seasons.

Smith’s tenure as head coach wasn’t filled with wins and memorable moments, but his leaving gift to the team was a last-second win over the Indianapolis Colts, which led to them giving the Chicago Bears the top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. However, his Texas club displayed professionalism and camaraderie, qualities often desired by organizations undergoing restructuring.

#3 – Sean Payton

the @NFLGameDay notebook with @ Mike Garafolo and @Tom Pelissero: The specter of Sean Payton hangs over every coaching situation; What to Expect from Lamar Jackson & Kenny Pickett; Tom Brady has many options for 2023; Odell Beckham Jr.’s sweepstakes led to… a hold.

Sean Payton will have a wealth of admirers if he decides to make a comeback this year and he should be able to pick from the best of the bunch. Payton has a Super Bowl championship and a long track record.

With 241 wins and a win rate of .631, he ranks among the top 30 managers of all time. Still in his 50s, any team that signs Payton will see him lead for a long time.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports that Payton might like to run one of the franchises in Los Angeles (Rams or Chargers).

#4 – Jim Harbaugh

Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh is seen on the touchline during the second half against the TCU Horned Frogs
Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh is seen on the touchline during the second half against the TCU Horned Frogs

University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has caught the attention of a number of NFL teams. The Carolina Panthers are one of the organizations that allegedly contacted Harbaugh.

Harbaugh spent four seasons as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, where he had a 44-19-1 regular-season record, before accepting the position at Michigan. As a result of his leadership, the “Niners” made it to three NFC championship games and Super Bowl XLVII, where they were defeated by the Baltimore Ravens.

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