Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley is about to have NFL franchises bowling him him over with ridiculous money offers as the offensive mastermind is set to be the hottest name on the head coach market this winter.
Don’t be surprised if we see movement on the Riley front within the next few weeks.
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“There’s going to be a race to fire NFL head coaches this season because everyone wants to get on Lincoln Riley as early as possible,” Bleacher Report NFL Draft analyst Matt Miller reported earlier this season after speaking with an anonymous member of an NFL front office.
There have been rumblings about several different teams parting ways with their current coaches, including the Browns, Cowboys and Giants.
Cleveland and Dallas are still alive in the playoff hunt, but a few losses in the next few weeks could change the directions of both franchises. Make no mistake, Freddie Kitchens and Jason Garrett both need strong showings over the next month to keep their respective jobs.
Riley is the obvious choice the Browns job considering he coached Baker Mayfield to a Heisman Trophy two years ago. Cleveland is also very appealing for any coach right now considering it is one of the biggest challenges left in sports.
If Riley, or any other coach, were able to get the Browns a Lombardi Trophy – they would be hailed as all-time saviors. Riley resurrecting a franchise like the Giants or Cowboys would have its perks for sure – they’re big market teams – but both of those franchises have reached the mountaintop multiple times. You win in Cleveland and you’re immortal.
You can also bet that if the Haslam family fires Kitchens that the next head man will be an offensive-minded guy.
On the flip side are the Giants, who will likely part ways with Pat Shurmur following the season. The Mara family whiffed on their last two hires, taking offensive guys like Ben McAdoo and the former Eagles and Vikings OC.
Expect them to get back to basics, and the long-held tradition of the Giants – which begins and ends on the defensive side of the ball. It’s much more likely that the Mara’s turn to Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale or 49ers DC Robert Saleh this winter.
Finally, the Cowboys remain a potential destination for Riley considering that he is a Texas native. It’s no secret that Garrett is in the last year of his contract and while Jerry Jones is still a fan, Stephen Jones may eventually have a come to Jesus moment with his father this winter if the Cowboys cannot at least make it to the NFC Championship game.
“We’ve had some nice seasons where we’ve made the playoffs and won a game,” Stephen Jones told the Dallas Morning News earlier this season. “We all know we want to take the next step and be playing for a championship.”