The NFL coaching carousel doesn't take much time to get spinning. Before the end of the final Sunday of the 2015 regular season, there were five coaching vacancies and interviews were already being scheduled.
While some candidates are still likely to pop up and earn interviews, there are a handful of assistant coaches who have drawn the majority of the interest from teams looking to hire new head coaches. Some assistants, like Adam Gase of the Chicago Bears, have been a top candidate in the past and are looking to finally take their shot at being a head coach. Others, like Hue Jackson of the Cincinnati Bengals, have head coaching experience already.
Even Mike Shanahan, a former head coach for three NFL teams who hasn't coached since 2013, has come out of the weeds to establish himself as a possible head coach for a fourth time.
As of now, here are the candidates to be head coaches in 2016:
The shine of Austin's résumé faded some when the Lions dropped from No. 2 in total defense in 2014 to No. 18 in 2015, but the 50-year-old's experience in bringing along defensive backs has earned him interest from a few NFL franchises. During the 2015 offseason, Austin was twice interviewed by the Atlanta Falcons before the team settled on Dan Quinn and he turned down an interview request from the Denver Broncos.
Seattle Seahawks (defensive backs coach): 2003-2006
Arizona Cardinals (defensive backs coach): 2007-2009
Florida Gators (defensive coordinator): 2010
Baltimore Ravens (secondary coach): 2011-2013
Detroit Lions (defensive coordinator): 2014-2015
Bevell only worked with Aaron Rodgers for one year in Green Bay and was never able to bring along Tarvaris Jackson to the level of a competent NFL starter in Minnesota. However, he had his first real chance to mold a top talent into an elite quarterback with Russell Wilson and he passed that test with flying colors. Under the tutelage of Bevell, Wilson has become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL with consistent improvement in each season, and that has earned the coach plenty of praise.
After five seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Seahawks, who have consistently contended for a Super Bowl during his time with the team, Bevell is likely to draw interest again after he was interviewed by the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills during the coaching searches of 2015.
Connecticut Huskies (wide receivers coach): 1998-1999
Green Bay Packers (assistant quarterbacks coach): 2000-2002
Green Bay Packers (quarterbacks coach): 2003-2005
Minnesota Vikings (offensive coordinator): 2006-2010
Seattle Seahawks (offensive coordinator): 2011-2015
None reported yet
Adam Gase (HIRED BY DOLPHINS)
It was surprising when Gase didn't get a head coaching job during the 2015 offseason, considering the hype around the young offensive mind, following a pair of strong seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos. He was reportedly close to getting the job with the San Francisco 49ers before Trent Baalke tried to strong-arm him into picking Jim Tomsula as defensive coordinator.
Instead, Gase went to Chicago, where he helped Jay Cutler have arguably the best season of his career. Cutler went from leading the NFL in interceptions to a career-best passer rating of 92.3, although the Bears didn't make much improvement offensively. Still, it appears as though Gase will be able to have his pick of NFL jobs.
Detroit Lions (quarterbacks coach): 2007
San Francisco 49ers (offensive assistant): 2008
Denver Broncos (wide receivers coach): 2009-2010
Denver Broncos (quarterbacks coach): 2011-2012
Denver Broncos (offensive coordinator): 2013-2014
Chicago Bears (offensive coordinator): 2015
It's tough to know how much of an impact actually has on the Cardinals offense with Bruce Arians getting almost all the credit for its success. Goodwin followed Arians from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis to Arizona, so his contributions as a coach have almost always been tied to the successes of Arians.
But the former Michigan Wolverines offensive lineman can hang his hat on how well Carson Palmer has been protected in 2015, with the Cardinals allowing just 27 sacks, the fourth-fewest in the NFL. He's not a quiet coach either, and has earned a reputation in Arizona for being easy to hear on the practice field.
Central Michigan Chippewas (offensive line coach): 2000-2003
Chicago Bears (offensive line assistant coach): 2004-2006
Pittsburgh Steelers (offensive line/quality control coach): 2007-2011
Indianapolis Colts (offensive line coach): 2012
Arizona Cardinals (offensive coordinator): 2013-2015
Haley originally drew hype as a top offensive mind in the NFL when he helped lead the Cardinals to a Super Bowl appearance at the end of the 2008 season. It was strong enough to earn him a shot as head coach of the Chiefs, and while the team improved to 10-6 in 2010 to go to the playoffs and Matt Cassel earned a trip to the Pro Bowl, Haley's time with the team ended after a disappointing 7-9 campaign in 2011.
Since then, Haley has led the prolific Steelers offense which finished No. 2 in the NFL in 2014 and No. 3 in 2015, despite missing Ben Roethlisberger for four games.
Chicago Bears (wide receivers coach): 2001-2003
Dallas Cowboys (wide receivers coach): 2004-2006
Arizona Cardinals (offensive coordinator): 2007-2008
Kansas City Chiefs (head coach): 2009-2011
Pittsburgh Steelers (offensive coordinator): 2012-2015
Hue Jackson (HIRED BY BROWNS)
For whatever reason, Jackson's time as an offensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL has been a series of one-year stints. In his only season as an NFL head coach, he led the Raiders to an 8-8 record, and the only top-10 offense the franchise has had since its Super Bowl season in 2002. But that wasn't enough for him to be retained for a second year, and the Raiders haven't had a winning season since.
As offensive coordinator of the Bengals in 2015, Andy Dalton grew exponentially as a quarterback and improved his quarterback rating from 83.5 in 2014 to 106.2 in 2015. While an injury for Dalton caused the offense to limp down the stretch into the playoffs, Jackson's accomplishments as an offensive coach have raised eyebrows around the NFL.
Washington (offensive coordinator): 2003
Atlanta Falcons (offensive coordinator): 2007
Oakland Raiders (offensive coordinator): 2010
Oakland Raiders (head coach): 2011
Cincinnati Bengals (offensive coordinator): 2015
Chip Kelly (HIRED BY 49ERS)
Everyone has an opinion about Kelly's demise with the Eagles, but his failings have more to do with his personnel decisions than his coaching. In his first two seasons in Philadelphia, prior to receiving the reins as the quasi GM, Kelly led the Eagles to back-to-back 10-6 seasons.
His coaching record was stellar, as he led Oregon to two Rose Bowls, a Fiesta Bowl and a BCS National Championship in his four seasons as head coach. With Kelly now willing to take a coaching job without personnel control, it's likely that the innovative offensive guru will get another shot sooner rather than later.
New Hampshire Wildcats (offensive coordinator): 1999-2006
Oregon Ducks (offensive coordinator): 2007-2008
Oregon Ducks (head coach): 2009-2012
Philadelphia Eagles (head coach): 2013-2015
Dirk Koetter (HIRED BY BUCCANEERS)
The offensive coordinator for the Buccaneers, Koetter was responsible for Jameis Winston's successful rookie campaign. This, according to reports, moved him to the top of other team's head coaching lists. The Bucs, reportedly scared they might lose him, fired head coach Lovie Smith and promptly scheduled an interview with Koetter.
Koetter, who played quarterback for Idaho State University, got his coaching start at an Idaho high school. He eventually worked his way up to the college ranks. His first NCAA job was as the offensive coordinator for San Francisco State. After bouncing around a few years, Koetter was hired as head coach by Boise State in 1998. There he won two Big West Conference titles and two bowl games. Five years later, he was pried away by Arizona State and in 2007 he made the leap to the NFL.
Boise State (head coach): 1998-2000
Arizona State (head coach): 2001-2006
Jacksonville Jaguars (offensive coordinator): 2007-2011
Atlanta Falcons (offensive coordinator): 2012-2014
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (offensive coordinator): 2015-present
Lynn played six seasons in the NFL as a running back and in his 13 seasons coaching running backs in the NFL, he's been at five different stops. Among the players he has worked with are Fred Taylor, Julius Jones, Jamal Lewis, Thomas Jones, LaDainian Tomlinson, Shonn Greene, Chris Ivory and LeSean McCoy. Those running backs combined for eight 1,000-yard seasons under Lynn.
His 2015 season, following Rex Ryan to Buffalo, was the first time he had the title of assistant head coach attached to his name. He worked with LeSean McCoy, who finished with 895 rushing yards in 12 games.
Jacksonville Jaguars (running backs coach): 2003-2004
Dallas Cowboys (running backs coach): 2005-2006
Cleveland Browns (running backs coach): 2007-2008
New York Jets (running backs coach): 2009-2014
Buffalo Bills (running backs coach/assistant head coach): 2015
Marrone already has NFL head coaching experience in the NFL, but he's a rare candidate that wasn't fired from his position. After two years with the Buffalo Bills, Marrone opted out of his contract following an ownership change. While he may have overestimated his options on the coaching market, Marrone is a top candidate in 2016 and is already drawing interest from several teams.
In hindsight, Marrone's ability to lead the Bills from a 6-10 season in 2013 to a winning record one year later is especially impressive, considering EJ Manuel started 14 games during Marrone's tenure. In his one season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Marrone helped coach an offense that jumped to No. 14 in the NFL in scoring after back-to-back seasons at No. 32.
New York Jets (offensive line coach): 2002-2005
New Orleans Saints (offensive coordinator): 2006-2008
Syracuse Orange (head coach): 2009-2012
Buffalo Bills (head coach): 2013-2014
Jacksonville Jaguars (offensive line coach/assistant head coach): 2015
Ben McAdoo (HIRED BY GIANTS)
McAdoo is the current offensive coordinator for the Giants. In his two years in New York, he helped turn a once struggling Giants offense into one of the league's best. The team was sixth in points scored this season and 13th last year, after finishing 28th the year before McAdoo arrived. He's also helped rein in Eli Manning, who's seen his interceptions drop the last two seasons.
McAdoo began his coaching career in college. He took a job as an assistant high coach during his sophomore year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He eventually made his way into the college ranks (Michigan State, Fairfield, Pittsburgh) before accepting a job as an offensive quality control coach for Jim Haslett's New Orleans Saints in 2004. He then took a job with the 49ers, and then the Packers, where he eventually rose to quarterbacks coach and was part of the team's Super Bowl victory in 2010.
He was hired as Giants offensive coordinator in 2014.
New Orleans Saints (offensive quality control coach): 2004
San Francisco 49ers (offensive quality control coach/offensive line coach): 2005
Green Bay Packers (tight ends coach): 2006-2011
Green Bay Packers (quarterbacks coach): 2012-2013
New York Giants (offensive coordinator): 2014-present
Like Chip Kelly, Josh McDaniels failed in spectacular fashion as a head coach in the NFL. And like Kelly, it had plenty to do with his performance directing personnel. During the two years that McDaniels was head coach of the Broncos, the team traded away Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, and drafted Tim Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Since then, McDaniels had one unsuccessful season with the Rams and four excellent seasons with the Patriots -- the team that put him on the coaching map in the first place. In his four seasons with the Patriots, the team has finished in the top four in the NFL in scoring, and McDaniels was the one in charge of the offense during the team's 16-0 run in 2007.
New England Patriots (quarterbacks coach): 2004-2005
New England Patriots (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach): 2006-2008
Denver Broncos (head coach): 2009-2010
St. Louis Rams (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach): 2011
New England Patriots (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach): 2012-2015
McDermott joined the staff of the Carolina Panthers in 2011 as their defensive coordinator, and the defense has been exceptional under his leadership. The Panthers are ranked sixth in the league in total defense, and they lead the league in interceptions and are tied at the top of the league for forced fumbles. Carolina's defense had a lot to do with their success in this 15-1 regular season.
Prior to coming to Carolina, McDermott spent his entire NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles. He began as an administrative coordinator in the scouting department, working his way through the ranks until he was named defensive coordinator in 2009.
Philadelphia Eagles (assistant defensive backs coach): 2004-2006
Philadelphia Eagles (secondary coach/safeties): 2007
Philadelphia Eagles (linebackers coach): 2008
Philadelphia Eagles (secondary coach/defensive coordinator): 2009-2010
Carolina Panthers (defensive coordinator): 2011-2015
With the exception of experience of some Division III football and a graduate assistant position at Syracuse, Patricia's entire coaching career has been with the Patriots. In more than a decade with the team, Patricia has experience coaching on both sides of the ball and worked his way up the ladder to defensive coordinator in 2012.
While Tom Brady and the Patriots offense draw most of the headlines, the New England defense has finished in the top 10 in points allowed in each of Patricia's four seasons running the show on defense, and that has earned him some looks as a potential NFL head coach.
New England Patriots (offensive coaching assistant): 2004
New England Patriots (assistant offensive line): 2005
New England Patriots (linebackers coach): 2006-2010
New England Patriots (safeties coach): 2011
New England Patriots (defensive coordinator): 2012-2015
Sean Payton (STAYING WITH SAINTS)
It's not hard to understand why Sean Payton is drawing interest from all around the NFL after 10 years with the Saints. The team hasn't finished any worse than 7-9 in his tenure with the team and after finishing with the second fewest points in the NFL in 2005, the Saints have had an elite NFL offense in each of Payton's seasons running the show.
Unlike the other candidates, though, Payton has a job. It could reportedly cost a second-round draft pick to pull Payton away from the Saints, meaning it's definitely a possibility that he's back in New Orleans in 2016. A team making a trade for a Super Bowl-winning coach isn't the craziest scenario, though.
Update, 1/6: Payton isn't going anywhere. He'll remain head coach of the Saints.
Philadelphia Eagles (quarterbacks coach): 1997-1998
New York Giants (quarterbacks coach): 1999
New York Giants (offensive coordinator): 2000-2002
Dallas Cowboys (assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach): 2003-2005
New Orleans Saints (head coach): 2006-2015
The first three season of the five-year tenure of Jim Schwartz in Detroit featured an impressive rebound for an 0-16 roster that he inherited. After just two wins in his first year, the Lions added four wins in each of the next two years and earned a trip to the playoffs with a 10-6 season in 2011. But when the team stalled and won 11 games over the next two years, that was a wrap for Schwartz with the Lions.
However, his experience as a defensive minded-football coach is hard to knock and he proved that in his return to a defensive coordinator role in 2014, leading the Bills to a No. 4 defense in the NFL in 2014, before the team's defense fell apart in his absence. Prior to that, Schwartz led a Titans defense that allowed the second-fewest points in the NFL during a 13-3 season in 2008.
Baltimore Ravens (outside linebackers coach): 1996-1998
Tennessee Titans (linebackers coach): 2000
Tennessee Titans (defensive coordinator): 2001-2008
Detroit Lions (head coach): 2009-2013
Buffalo Bills (defensive coordinator): 2014
No candidate has more experience than Shanahan, who has been a head coach for more than two decades with three different franchises. While he has spent two seasons away from football -- and he's 63 -- Shanahan was close to earning the 49ers job in 2015, and has already drawn some interest from more than one team in 2016.
While the end of his tenure with Washington was far from great, one contributing factor for Shanahan's firing was his wish to put in Kirk Cousins as starter, and that belief was validated plenty in 2015.
Denver Broncos (offensive coordinator): 1984-1987
Los Angeles Raiders (head coach): 1988-1989
San Francisco 49ers (offensive coordinator): 1992-1994
Denver Broncos (head coach): 1995-2008
Washington (head coach): 2010-2013
The son of legendary Dolphins head coach Don Shula was just 37 when he became the head coach at Alabama, making him the second-youngest coach in the entire FBS. While the team struggled with a 4-9 record in his first season, the team improved to 10-2 two seasons later, including a win in the Cotton Bowl. But the team declined to 6-6 in 2006, and Shula was fired. Three years later, 21 of Alabama's victories, including the Cotton Bowl win were vacated due to football players receiving free textbooks.
Since then, Shula has been tasked with the development of Cam Newton and that reached its peak in 2015 with an MVP-level season from the former No. 1 draft pick. While Shula is considered a top coaching candidate, he has reportedly told teams that he won't interview while the Panthers are still playing, which could severely hurt his chances at getting a head coaching gig in 2016.
Miami Dolphins (quarterbacks coach): 2000-2002
Alabama Crimson Tide (head coach): 2003-2006
Jacksonville Jaguars (quarterbacks coach): 2007-2010
Carolina Panthers (quarterbacks coach): 2011-2012
Carolina Panthers (offensive coordinator): 2013-2015
None reported yet
It's tough to say how much impact Shurmur really had on the Eagles offense during Chip Kelly's tenure, but he was also with the franchise during some of the best seasons of Donovan McNabb's career. After helping Sam Bradford to be named the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010, Shurmur took over as head coach of the Browns, but was one of several coaches to get fired after a brief stint.
After a 4-12 season in his first year with Cleveland, Shurmur had Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson leading the way as rookies in 2012, but that didn't go as planned and he was out after a 5-11 season. Since then, Weeden and Richardson have been complete failures in the NFL, so it's tough to say that Shurmur ever really had a chance at finding success with the pair.
Philadelphia Eagles (quarterbacks coach): 2002-2008
St. Louis Rams (offensive coordinator): 2009-2010
Cleveland Browns (head coach): 2011-2012
Philadelphia Eagles (offensive coordinator): 2013-2015
In seven season as head coach of the Falcons, Smith led the team to four postseason trips and a 66-46 record. However, the Falcons won just one of five playoff games and patience with a team that couldn't quite turn the corner wore thin, making 10 wins in his final two seasons too few for Smith to keep his job.
The Falcons defense also regressed in Smith's final two seasons, after allowing the fifth-fewest points in 2012. Defense was Smith's calling card that earned him a head coaching job, leading some of the league's best defenses during his time with the Ravens and Jaguars.
After a year away from football, Smith's solid record as a head coach has been enough to earn interviews from a multiple teams, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (defensive coordinator): 1996-1998
Baltimore Ravens (defensive assistant/defensive line): 1999-2001
Baltimore Ravens (linebackers coach): 2002
Jacksonville Jaguars (defensive coordinator): 2003-2007
Atlanta Falcons (head coach): 2008-2014