2024 NFL head-coaching tracker: Patriots part with long-time coach Bill Belichick
Jan 11, 2024, 5:55 AM | Updated: 9:13 am
It’s that dark day in January after the final NFL regular season games of the year, when head coaches and general managers on the hot seat find out their futures.
In Arizona, the Cardinals have optimism under first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon and Co. Despite a loss by way of a few missed field goals on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona enters 2024 with a strong draft cache, confidence in quarterback Kyler Murray and a rebuilt culture that came through in players’ effort and outlook despite 13 losses piling up.
It’s less rosy elsewhere in the NFL.
Here’s the latest NFL head-coaching and front-office movement on Monday.
Which NFL coaches have been fired?
Patriots separate with long-time coach Bill Belichick
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Six-time NFL champion Bill Belichick has agreed to part ways as the coach of the New England Patriots on Thursday, bringing an end to his 24-year tenure as the architect of the most decorated dynasty of the league’s Super Bowl era, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because it has not yet been announced.
A news conference is planned for later in the day in which team owner Robert Kraft and Belichick will address the decision.
Seahawks remove Pete Carroll after 14 seasons
The Seattle Seahawks have removed Pete Carroll from the role of head coach, the team announced Wednesday.
The Seahawks released a statement from chair Jody Allen announcing the move, thanking Carroll for his 14 years in the role. In the statement, Allen said Carroll will “remain with the organization as an advisor.”
The Seahawks and Carroll will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Seattle closed the regular season with a 21-20 win at Arizona on Sunday. The Seahawks entered the final two weeks of the regular season with the chance at reaching the playoffs for the 11th time with Carroll in charge, but a Week 17 loss to Pittsburgh left Seattle in need of help it didn’t get to close out the season.
Mike Vrabel out for Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans fired Mike Vrabel on Tuesday after his future was left unaddressed for a full day beyond the season’s conclusion on Sunday, reports The Athletic’s Dianna Russini.
The Titans wrapped up Vrabel’s sixth season with a 6-11 record in his first year with general manager Ran Carthon. They beat Jacksonville 28-20 on Sunday to deny their oldest division rival a second straight AFC South title. That was the first time Vrabel’s Titans weren’t playing for a postseason berth in the finale.
Vrabel’s future has been a topic of speculation nationally since November, a couple of weeks after his induction into the Patriots’ Hall of Fame. A three-time Super Bowl champ as a linebacker in New England, Vrabel has been listed repeatedly as a potential replacement should Bill Belichick leave.
As the Titans cleared out lockers Monday, the coach with a 56-48 record did not talk to reporters. It’s the first time since the franchise moved to Tennessee in 1997 that the head coach wasn’t available on the same day as players. But Vrabel is scheduled to speak later this week.
Vrabel said last week that “of course he wants to be here” in 2024.
Will Levis, who went 3-6 as a rookie after replacing veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill, has heard some of the speculation. The 33rd pick out of Kentucky said he hopes everything stays the same so the Titans can grow.
“He’s going to communicate with us as soon as he knows,” Levis said of Vrabel.
Washington Commanders fire head coach Ron Rivera
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — The Washington Commanders fired coach Ron Rivera on Monday, the first move of many expected by new owners as they put their stamp on the NFL franchise they bought last year.
The decision came a day after the Commanders’ season-ending 38-10 home loss to division-rival Dallas.
“As we look ahead, we recognize the results this season were not good enough and a strategic shift in leadership and approach is necessary,” controlling owner Josh Harris said in a statement.
Harris said he has asked co-owners Mitch Rales, Magic Johnson and David Blitzer as well as former NBA executive Bob Myers and ex-Minnesota GM Rick Spielman to work with him in the searches for a head of football personnel and coach. After Dan Snyder four years ago hired Rivera to do both jobs, ownership is now splitting those responsibilities.
Myers served as president of basketball operations and GM of the Golden State Warriors as they won four championships, and he was named the league’s executive of the year twice.
General manager Martin Mayhew and a majority of the front office and coaching staff are also expected to go, as Harris and his fellow owners begin shaping the organization less than six months after buying the team from Snyder.
Washington made one playoff appearance, winning an uncharacteristically weak NFC East at 7-9 in 2020, during Rivera’s four seasons in charge of Washington’s football operations. He never had a winning season.
Belichick open to changes if he remains New England Patriots coach
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Bill Belichick is open to letting someone else handle personnel duties if he remains with the New England Patriots.
The Patriots coach also confirmed Monday during his season-ending new conference that he remains under contract, though he didn’t specify the length of its current terms.
New England’s 17-3 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday cemented a 4-13 record for the Patriots, Belichick’s worst record in his 29-year NFL head coaching career. It’s left his status for next season up in the air as he prepares to meet with team owner Robert Kraft about his future. That meeting was expected to take place this week, possibly as early as today.
“I’m for whatever collectively we decide as an organization is the best thing to help our football team,” Belichick said during Monday’s video conference. “I’m under contract. I’m going to do what I always do, which is every day I come in, work as hard as I can to help the team in whatever way I can. So that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
The details of Belichick’s contract have never been released publicly.
As to possibly giving up his role as the team’s de facto general manager with final call on personnel matters, the 71-year-old Belichick said he is flexible if it benefits the organization.
Carolina Panthers fire GM Scott Fitterer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers have fired general manager Scott Fitterer one day after the team finished with an NFL-worst 2-15 record.
The Panthers will now be looking for a head coach and a general manager this offseason.
“As we move forward with the new direction for our franchise, I have made the decision that Scott Fitterer will no longer serve as our general manager,” Panthers owner David Tepper said in statement Monday. “I appreciate Scott’s efforts and wish the best for him and his family.”
Fitterer joined the team in 2021 and the Panthers have gone 14-37. Tepper previously fired head coach Frank Reich just 11 games into his first season after the team started 1-10.
Arthur Smith fired as Atlanta Falcons head coach
ATLANTA (AP) — Arthur Smith, who inherited a rebuilding project in his first NFL head coaching job and failed to lift Atlanta from its playoff drought, was fired late Sunday night, hours after completing his third straight losing season with the Falcons.
Smith, the 41-year-old son of FedEx founder Fred Smith, finished with a record of 21-30. He went 7-10 each year.
Smith was dismissed after a 48-17 loss at New Orleans — the second-worst setback of his tenure, topped only by a 43-3 rout at Dallas in 2021. The Falcons dropped four of their last five games and were blown out in Smith’s final two contests, losing 37-17 at Chicago a week ago.
The Falcons have posted six straight losing seasons since their last playoff appearance in 2017.
After the team arrived back in Atlanta, Smith met with owner Arthur Blank and CEO Rich McKay. The firing was announced shortly after midnight.
“Decisions like this are never easy and they never feel good,” said Blank, the 81-year-old owner who now begins the search for the the sixth full-time head coach of his two-plus decades as the Falcons’ owner.