After shocking the football world with a run to the AFC Championship Game in 2017, Jacksonville has regressed to being one of the worst teams in the league the last few years. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in a parting of ways with head coach Doug Marrone and a new regime headed to Duval moving forward.
Marrone's 23-43 overall record across four full seasons did produce one nice going away present however in the No. 1 overall pick and a vast amount of cap room for the new coach to rebuild quickly. Who wants to take on this suddenly appealing project in Jacksonville? Here are 10 candidates to watch that could be the next Jags head coach:
Eric Bieniemy, Chiefs offensive coordinator
If ownership wants an immediate boost of credibility with a hire, this one would be that and more. The hottest name on the coaching carousel would be a great fit as the man to presumably develop No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence after successfully doing the same with Patrick Mahomes. While it might not look like the most attractive position at first glance, a chance to fully makeover the offense in Duval could be quite appealing to the former NFL tailback.
Brian Daboll, Bills offensive coordinator
Daboll will get a ton of traction with openings that have young QBs due to how he's transformed Josh Allen into an MVP candidate and the position in Jacksonville will be no different. He's learned from both Bill Belichick and Nick Saban and seems fully prepared to lead a franchise on his own. Having a college background to go with being analytically inclined should line up nicely with some of the traits ownership wants to see.
Arthur Smith, Titans offensive coordinator
Jacksonville is well acquainted with Smith from spending so many years facing off against him in Nashville. He's long considered a bright up-and-coming offensive mind who has improved the Titans each season and done wonders with Ryan Tannehill under center. He may not be the kind of hire that sends the fan base into a frenzy but would be a well-respected head coach around the league from the get-go.
Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator
McDaniels has been choosy about his next move after backing out of the Colts gig a few years ago but Jacksonville could be a fascinating landing spot — especially if he can entice Nick Caserio to join him as general manager. If Bill Belichick isn't going to retire anytime soon, could linking up with a generational QB prospect in a winnable division be the exit plan from New England?
Robert Saleh, 49ers defensive coordinator
While there is likely to be a ton of focus on offensive minds because Trevor Lawrence is almost assuredly coming in, Saleh could be just the kind of all-around candidate that could change ownership's mind. His fiery personality could energize the team and his defensive acumen could make for a quick turnaround on the side of the ball that has really plagued the Jags.
Former Head Coaches
Urban Meyer, former Ohio State head coach
There is no bigger name connected to NFL openings than Meyer's right now. His health will be the ultimate determining factor on luring the successful title-winning coach to the pro level but it sounds like a much stronger possibility than other years and he'll have a significantly better resume than pretty much anybody in the recent CFB-to-NFL pipeline. If the Jags wanted somebody who could truly change the culture in Duval, this is the pick if he wants to come.
Jim Caldwell, ex-Lions/Colts head coach
He has two rings, led one team to the Super Bowl as head coach, and finished eight games over .500 while in charge of the Lions. He's as respected as they come around the NFL and would instantly elevate the floor of the team for the immediate future. He is 65 but bringing in a veteran like this could bring stability to a franchise that has been shaken up quite a bit recently.
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan head coach
Harbaugh took over a six-win San Francisco 49ers team and nearly got them to the Super Bowl the following season. The general manager during that time: Trent Baalke, who is currently interim GM in Jacksonville. Could a reunion be in the cards? Harbaugh hasn't lived up to expectations at his alma mater largely because he hasn't found the right QB but would have one ready to go in Florida as a result of the No. 1 pick.
P.J. Fleck, Minnesota head coach
If the franchise wants to bottle up the energy of a spring break weekend into a head coach, they would look no further than Fleck, who has played and coached in both college and the NFL. He's been a turnaround specialist at places that have been notoriously difficult to win so you can understand the connection to a gig like this.
Marvin Lewis, Arizona State defensive coordinator
Lewis took the Bengals to the postseason seven times, which is really an impressive accomplishment in retrospect even if he didn't win one. His consistency would be well received down in Duval and he could bring his young co-defensive coordinator in Tempe, Antonio Pierce, with him as a potential successor too.
— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.
(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)