A look at all ongoing head coach and GM searches

The regular season ends on Sunday, and there are already vacancies for three head coaches and six general managers.

By league rule, all interviews have been conducted virtually so far. That changes Monday, when any head coach or GM candidate whose team is out of the playoffs or is not currently employed by an NFL team is permitted to interview in-person, subject to new COVID-19 rules on masks, social distancing, etc. Head coach and GM candidates whose teams are still playing are subject to the usual restrictions regarding timing for first interviews.

In many cases, the GM searches are ahead of the head coach searches right now. But a flurry of interview slips are expected to go out beginning Sunday afternoon, with Zoom interviews starting Monday.

Here’s a look at where things stand, according to sources:

Atlanta Falcons (HC and GM): The Falcons interviewed interim head coach Raheem Morris for the full-time job Friday and are expected run a wide search beginning Monday. Among the candidates Atlanta has been researching are Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles — who was a finalist last time it came out — as well as Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and Rams DC Brandon Staley.

Former Texans GM Rick Smith is considered a strong candidate for the GM job and has a relationship with president and CEO Rich McKay from their days on the competition committee. However, the Falcons also are expected to request interviews with several first-time candidates, including Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown, Saints VP/assistant GM of pro personnel Terry Fontenot, Rams college scouting director Brad Holmes, Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly, Vikings assistant GM George Paton and Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen. With McKay and fellow former GMs Ruston Webster and Phil Emery on staff, there would be a support system to help a younger executive to grow into the job.

Carolina Panthers (GM): Coach Matt Rhule will have a heavy influence on the process, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they hire someone with a connection to him, as they did in bring in Pat Stewart as director of player personnel last year. The Panthers are lining up an interview with former Giants GM Jerry Reese, who worked with Rhule in New York in 2012. They are also expected to interview Saints VP/assistant GM of college personnel Jeff Ireland and Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds. Other names to watch include 49ers vice president of player personnel Adam Peters — who played for Rhule at UCLA in 2001 — as well as Seahawks VP of football operations Scott Fitterer and Joe Schoen from Buffalo.

Detroit Lions (HC and GM): They’ve already interviewed seven GM candidates — including former Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, who remains in the mix — and are expected to interview a handful more. They’ve been plotting a potential run at Seahawks GM John Schneider, while others of interest include Indy’s Ed Dodds, Fitterer, Terry Fontenot, Brad Holmes, Steelers VP of football administration Omar Khan, Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay, George Paton and Patriots front office consultant Eliot Wolf.

The Lions also quietly began their head coaching search by interviewing former Bengals coach Marvin Lewis on Thursday. 49ers DC Robert Saleh, a Dearborn native, is considered a strong candidate for the head coaching job. But the Lions are expected to run a wide search for that position, too, putting in as many as 10 interview slips for head coaching candidates for that job, with Chiefs OC Eric Bienemy, Saints assistant head coach/tight ends coach Dan Campbell and Titans OC Arthur Smith among the potential targets. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Lions at least explore college head coaches such as Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald. Interim coach Darrell Bevell is expected to get an interview for the full-time job, too.

Houston Texans (HC and GM): When Bill O’Brien was fired, the focus immediately shifted to Eric Bienemy, and he is expected to be interviewed. They’ve already interviewed former Lions coach Jim Caldwell and Marvin Lewis. Other coaches to watch include Panthers OC Joe Brady, Ohio State’s Ryan Day, Colts DC Matt Eberflus, Patriots ILBs coach Jerod Mayo, Patriots OC Josh McDaniels and Tennessee’s Arthur Smith. But the Texans’ plan is to hire the GM first. They’ve interviewed their director of player personnel, Matt Bazirgan, and ESPN analyst Louis Riddick and are expected to interview at least a handful more, including Seahawks executive Alonzo Highsmith. Other names of interest include: Bills director of pro personnel Malik Boyd, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, Ravens director of football research Scott Cohen, Indy’s Ed Dodds, Seahawks VP of player personnel Trent Kirchner and Dallas’ Will McClay.

Jacksonville Jaguars (GM): The consensus top job is also the one surrounded by the most mystery, and it may depend on whether the Jaguars land a big-name head coach who could pick his own personnel man. Former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has been lining up a staff, saying he expects to land in Jacksonville. If not Meyer, the Jaguars could pursue his successor with the Buckeyes, Ryan Day. No final decision has been reached on current coach Doug Marrone, who has a year left on his contract, but they are considered likely to part ways, assuming Jacksonville can land one of its targets. The Jaguars have already conducted two interviews for the GM job in Jerry Reese and Louis Riddick. Depending who the coach is, internal candidate Trent Baalke could be considered as well.

Washington Football Team (GM): Washington can win the NFC East by beating the Eagles on Sunday night, and coach Ron Rivera has said the GM search will wait until after the season. The strong sense in league circles is former Panthers GM Marty Hurney — who was fired last month and remains tight with Rivera from their days in Carolina — is a top candidate. Other names expected to be considered including Titans VP of player personnel Ryan Cowden, 49ers Senior Personnel Executive Martin Mayhew, Buffalo’s Joe Schoen and Rick Smith. If Kyle Smith — the top personnel man since Bruce Allen’s departure — heads elsewhere, Washington could add another veteran personnel man such as Jimmy Raye III.

Other search notes

The Bengals are expected to keep coach Zac Taylor, though he will likely have a few staff changes. … Former Falcons coach Dan Quinn wants to coach somewhere in 2021, perhaps as a defensive coordinator. … Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell should join Florida’s Dan Mullen, Iowa State’s Matt Campbell and Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck among other college coaches receiving interest from the NFL. … Saints secondary coach Aaron Glenn should receive at least one interview. … Chiefs assistant director of player personnel Ryan Poles is an under-the-radar pick to get interviews.

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