New England Patriots

Josh McDaniels celebrates after winning the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Did Josh McDaniels screw himself out of getting another head coaching gig outside of New England after what he did to the Colts? Apparently not.

A new column by ESPN’s Dan Graziano suggests that McDaniels can’t be ruled out as one of the hottest, if not the hottest head coaching candidate for 2019. He lists many other names to consider ahead of the next coaching shuffle, and that list includes Patriots linebackers coach/de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Multiple sources tell Graziano that McDaniels is still interested in becoming a head coach again next season if the right opportunity comes along.

There will inevitably be at least 4-5 openings by mid-February, but there are two situations that already look like they’ll be on the list. The 4-6-1 Green Bay Packers could finally move on from Mike McCarthy, and the Cleveland Browns … I know, it’s the Browns. But they have a very promising young quarterback in Baker Mayfield and plenty of weapons on both sides of the ball. Graziano also mentions the Ravens as a team who could part ways with John Harbaugh if they miss the playoffs, and they have a talented young QB of their own in Lamar Jackson.

Not to mention, McDaniels is an offensive-minded coach in an era where offense is the name of the game in the NFL. Based on these factors and all of the other, lesser known names on the list of potential candidates, it’s possible that McDaniels finds himself on teams’ radars once again – desptite how he spurned the Colts to return to New England.

Still, you can’t totally rule out another possibility: that he’s the head coach-in-waiting here, waiting for Bill Belichick to call it a career. Belichick won’t give anyone a sliver of an idea what he plans to do beyond today, let alone this week or this month or this year. So speculating on that isn’t necessarily based in reality. But why else would McDaniels pull the ol’ bait & switch with the Colts and surprise the football world with a return to the Patriots?

One thing is pretty clear at this point. McDaniels isn’t interested in being an offensive coordinator for the rest of his career. It sounds like he’s going to have to go through a hell of a grilling in his next round of head coaching interviews, but the story here is that those meetings might happen in the first place.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.