Josh McDaniels, Bret Bielema, and Nick Caserio are all valuable members of the Patriots who are rumored to be considering outside employment in 2020.
In what has become a bit of an annual tradition of sorts, multiple New England Patriots coaches and staffers are rumored to be considering opportunities with other franchises in 2020.
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels seems like he’s always got one foot in Foxborough and one foot out the door. He was originally on Bill Belichick’s staff for eight years before he left in 2009 to take the Denver Broncos head coaching job. After he was fired in 2010, he briefly joined the St. Louis Rams before returning to Belichick and the Patriots in 2012.
McDaniels almost left after the 2017 season to become the new head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, but on the day he was officially announced, he changed his mind and elected to remain offensive coordinator for the Patriots.
Ever since then, McDaniels’ name has floated in and out of head coaching conversation. Some speculate he may have burned all his bridges when he flip-flopped on Indy; others think he’s simply too bright of a mind to be held back if he wanted another crack at being the head honcho of a coaching staff somewhere.
While many believe McDaniels might be Belichick’s hand-picked successor for the Patriots job, there’s no knowing when Belichick plans to retire from head coaching. He has expressed no interest in stepping down or away from football any time soon, and some fans have speculated that Belichick wants to remain head coach of the Patriots after Tom Brady retires if only to prove that he can be successful without his Hall of Fame quarterback.
According to CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan, McDaniels is thus “expected to aggressively pursue head coaching jobs once again” with no firm timeline of when Belichick might step down from the Pats job. Again, it’s unknown how much interest or good faith there’d be from other teams in bringing McDaniels aboard after the way he spurned Indianapolis, but it appears he’ll actively test the waters again.
A number of head coaching vacancies should open up around the league at the end of this season, per usual. One of the jobs has already opened up down in Carolina, where the Panthers fired Ron Rivera a couple weeks ago. Other franchises that could be moving on from their head coaches in the next month or so include the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Cleveland Browns, among others.
McDaniels isn’t the only New England name circulating in the rumor mill these days either.
Director of player development Nick Caserio will reportedly consider employment opportunities outside of the Belichick bubble this offseason. Caserio nearly left to become the general manager of the Houston Texans after last season, but the Patriots filed tampering charges against Houston that eventually forced the Texans to abandon their pursuit of Caserio… at least for the time being.
Caserio was still under contract with the Patriots when the rumors linking him with the Texans job first surfaced, but that won’t be the case after this season, as Caserio will be a free agent with his contract up. He could potentially return to New England, but many around the NFL believe that Caserio will pursue a better opportunity elsewhere as a GM – whether it’s with the Texans or another team altogether.
Finally, defensive line coach Bret Bielema has reportedly garnered interest from various college football programs around the country, according to NESN’s Zack Cox. Bielema is in his first year with the Patriots this season – he previously was the head coach of both the Wisconsin and Arkansas football programs before arriving in Foxborough.