When the Patriots announced they made a staff hire earlier this week, there was some excitement about the ball moving in the right direction. The problem, however, was that it wasn't for the most critical position left vacant: offensive coordinator. Although filling any role is positive, like hiring Jeremy Springer for the special teams coordinator, New England's struggle to replace Bill O'Brien is becoming more problematic.
To make matters worse, the latest update from ESPN's Mike Reiss regarding the team's top remaining candidate doesn't bode much optimism heading into free agency and the draft.
Because most of those Jerod Mayo and Co. interviewed have already landed jobs elsewhere, there is a limited number of potential candidates for the position available. The frontrunner has been former Patriots coach and current Rams tight ends coach Nick Caley, who had a second in-person interview with the team earlier this week.
However, because he left Foxboro without a contract, Reiss is beginning to grow concerned that he may not make the move back East, as he has a "good situation" out in Los Angeles right now.
Caley has been on many teams' radar over the last couple of years, so his rise to the Patriots' top candidate as their next OC is on par with what was expected. But because he has now had multiple interviews and there haven't been any updates regarding his status, it appears more and more likely he will remain with the Rams for the 2024 season.
It's an unfortunate development for new head coach Mayo, who has been eagerly working to assemble his staff since being promoted last month. It's imperative he gets it done quickly to have enough time with the OC heading into free agency and the draft, but as more days go on, their lack of success is becoming more worrisome.
Rumors have suggested that candidates don't want the role despite the new head coach, a high draft pick, and a healthy cap space to spend. Why that is doesn't make much sense, yet it explains the Patriots' difficulty finding a suitable candidate for the job.