NFL Props Odds and Predictions: Next Chicago Bears Coach
by Alan Matthews - 1/1/2015
There are currently six head coach openings in the NFL, each with plusses and minuses attached. The best job probably is in San Francisco, but the team has some key players up for free agency and it will be tough to follow in Jim Harbaugh's shoes.
Atlanta offers its next coach a franchise quarterback in Matt Ryan and one of the NFL's best receivers in Julio Jones. Plus a new stadium opens in a couple of years. The defense is awful, however. The Jets offer the platform that is the Big Apple and they already have a good defense. No quarterback to speak of. The Raiders look like a team on the rise with a good young quarterback in Derek Carr and excellent rookie linebacker Khalil Mack. But the team's GM is on thin ice and, well, it's the Raiders. Buffalo's job surprisingly came open when Doug Marrone took an unusual opt-out clause in his contract that was triggered when the team was sold in October. Buffalo has a stellar defense and star young receiver in Sammy Watkins but quarterback questions of its own. I expect the Jets to hire Marrone as he's from the Bronx and was an assistant with the Jets for a few years. Look for Chargers offensive coordinator and former Bills QB Frank Reich to land in Buffalo.
The last opening belongs to one the NFL's marquee franchises: the Chicago Bears. So one would think any coach would jump at it. There are issues there, though. Is Jay Cutler a franchise quarterback? It definitely doesn't appear so and his contract makes him almost impossible to trade or waive. The Chicago defense might be the worst in the NFL and the Bears don't have a ton of salary-cap room to play with. On the bright side, there is a ton of skill-position talent in place, a rabid fan base and plenty of tradition. The Chicago Tribune ran a story where it polled 16 NFL front office types about the best open NFL coach job -- before the Bills came open -- and the Chicago one ranked only above Oakland in terms of attractiveness.
Bovada offers props on some of the head-coaching openings. Here are the Bears options.
Mike Shanahan (+200): He wants back into coaching and has two Super Bowl rings from his days in Denver. That said, he didn't do much there once John Elway left and had very little success in Washington, clashing with franchise QB Robert Griffin III. No coach has gotten more out of Jay Cutler, who had arguably his best season under Shanahan in 2008 with the Broncos. More important, Cutler respects Shanahan.
Rex Ryan (+250): This is the choice of the Chicago media because Ryan certainly would make things interesting in the Windy City and he obviously has family ties to the Bears as the son of former legendary Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. In a way, this would be a lot like the Mike Ditka hiring. Chicago will have a lot of competition for Ryan. I think he lands in Atlanta.
Dan Quinn (+500): This is Seattle's defensive coordinator and he's a hot commodity for most of the openings. Quinn will interview with the Bears as well as the Jets and Falcons (if he hasn't already), and the 49ers already have talked to him. Teams are in a rush to speak to Quinn because he's off limits starting next week with Seattle playing in the divisional round.
Todd Bowles (+500): The Bears will have plenty of competition for Arizona's defensive coordinator and already have requested permission to speak with him. Bowles, in his second season with the Cardinals, has overseen a defense that finished the regular season ranked fifth in scoring defense, allowing 18.7 points per game. Bowles can't interview this week with Arizona playing on wild-card weekend but can next even if the Cards win. Per NFL protocol, assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that win their wild-card games may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of divisional playoff games.
Darrell Bevell (+600): Seattle's offensive coordinator was a finalist two years ago for the Bears job along with Bruce Arians and Marc Trestman, who of course got the gig. Bevell has turned Russell Wilson into a star and the Seahawks haven't missed a beat since trading Percy Harvin.
Matt Patricia (+1200): He is New England's defensive coordinator and I see no way he gets this job because he isn't enough of a known quantity to satisfy Bears fans.
Mike Holmgren (+1500): I'm sure the Bears would love to get Holmgren, partly to stick it to the Packers. Holmgren probably would want personnel power and the Bears never give that to their coaches.
Mike Singletary (+1500): One of the greatest Bears ever, Singletary would take the job in a second. But he wasn't very successful in his head coaching tenure in San Francisco.
I'm not sure it will be any of these guys -- the Bears also have asked permission to speak with Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, but he might be too young for Chicago to take a leap of faith. But the best betting value is Bowles. He would have come to Chicago with Arians had the Bears hired Arians instead of Trestman.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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