With several teams hiring, or already have hired, new head coaches, there has been plenty of news and rumors circulating about assistant coaches landing new gigs.
The NFL has implemented a new rule this year making it so teams looking to hire coordinators no longer need to seek permission to talk with assistant coaches that are under contract with other teams. In the past, the league only recognized two tiers of coach — head and assistant — which prevented assistants from leaving for anything other than a head coaching job. This new rule allows assistant coaches to better themselves by leaving for higher profile coordinator jobs.
This will allow more movement than we’ve previously seen as new head coaches could poach from the staffs they just came from, or look to fast rising assistant positions coaches on other teams.
The Chicago Bears are guaranteed some turnover for the 2021 season as defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano elected to retire, but there’s bound to be some more changes to Matt Nagy’s coaching staff.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that defensive line coach Jay Rodgers and safeties coach Sean Desai are the Bears top candidates for their defensive coordinator job if they hire from within.
Rodgers, whose contract is set to expire soon, is also being considering by other teams to make the jump to defensive coordinator. If former Bears outside linebacker coach Brandon Staley, who is currently the defensive coordinator of the Rams, ends up getting a head coaching job this cycle, then Rodgers would be a likely candidate to join him with his new team.
With the Bears seemingly in a win-now-mode after back to back disappointing seasons, my guess is they look to an experienced play caller on defense, but I would be completely fine if they gave the job to Rodgers.
I've now seen several comments from #Bears fans that want to dismiss D-line coach Jay Rodgers as a candidate for D.C. because he 'might not understand coverages.'— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) January 15, 2021
This man was a college QB, and his coaching background includes QB coach, WR coach, and passing game coordinator.
Rodgers isn’t the only current assistant rumored to have some outside interest, as passing game coordinator Dave Ragone may be off to Atlanta to join Arthur Smith’s new coaching staff according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Ragone and Smith coached together in Tennessee from 2011 to 2013, and while it’s expected that Smith would be the Falcons play caller, Ragone would get the offensive coordinator title.
Someone claiming to be Ragone’s nephew Tweeted our some other rumors, but considering that Tweet was deleted I’d rather not give it any credence.
Bears wide receivers coach Mike Furrey was mentioned as a head coach candidate at Marshall University.
If former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson doesn’t land one of the head coach openings, then look for his connections with Nagy to lead to plenty of speculation on him joining the Bears’ staff.
There’s also a chance that Champ Kelly, who is Chicago’s current Assistant Director of Player Personnel, could still be in play for becoming the Assistant General Manager of the Denver Broncos.
The assistant coaches to coordinator rule I referenced above also applies to scouts and front office personnel being allowed to leave for assistant GM roles.