I had a feeling that Sean McVay’s answer on Friday about leaving the Los Angeles Rams for a broadcasting job were a bit of a dodge. Why not just be transparent about the reasons for staying with the Rams and when the right time would be to leave? Why not declare yourself committed to the Rams when you just signed a four-year contract extension?
Well, apparently I am not the only one having doubts about McVay’s immediate future. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, McVay is having doubts about McVay’s future and could leave the Rams for television after L.A.’s season finale against the Seattle Seahawks.
Sean McVay's immediate future as the Los Angeles Rams head coach is in limbo, multiple sources told ESPN.https://t.co/sK7YO8Fmf1— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 8, 2023
According to Schefter, McVay has gone back and forth on the decision because of the Rams’ struggles this season, now 5-11 entering the finale.
McVay has gone back and forth on the decision and needs time to get away to process all that has transpired over the past year: winning a Super Bowl, being courted to work in television, getting married, watching his wife’s home country of Ukraine invaded, losing his grandfather and then coaching a team that has fallen short of its expectations.
McVay can say that he’s won a Super Bowl. He can say that he’s made history as the youngest head coach in NFL history, and he continues to be the youngest head coach in the league. What’s left for McVay to accomplish in the NFL other than continued success?
Unless McVay feels that the Rams will have a hard time having success given their salary cap situation, the age of their star players, and the ongoing lack of first round draft picks.
On Friday, I thought it was possible that McVay would leave the Rams after the season. This latest report makes me think that McVay’s early retirement could now be leaning into “probable” territory, as reports often seem to “leak” before the actual news as a way to soften the blow. Or because every franchise has some leak somewhere along the line and it means that Sean McVay is already preparing the Los Angeles Rams for his potential exit next week.
Where do the Rams turn to next if that’s the case?
There are no internal options that sound satisfying. Morris went 17-31 as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then 4-7 as interim head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Turning to Morris would feel like handing the team over to somebody because he’s there rather than because he’s the first choice. And given L.A.’s power to spend money and compete for the playoffs, the Rams would seem to be an attractive destination that could bring in some of the top head coach candidates in the league.
If Morris is not a likely head coach for one of the other teams with an opening, why would he be the Rams’ first choice?
Thomas Brown, Liam Coen, Zac Robinson, Jay Gruden, and Eric Henderson would be similarly surprising, whether because they don’t seem ready or in the case of Gruden, his time has already come and past as an NFL head coach.
The first name everybody will talk about is Sean Payton. The Saints granted the Broncos to talk to Payton, but not to negotiate a contract or offer him a job. If the Rams want Payton, they will need to trade assets to the Saints for his services. What assets can the Rams afford to give up for a head coach?
Shane Waldron, Seahawks OC
Waldron may not be the first choice either, but his connection to the Rams means that L.A. could keep Matthew Stafford’s offensive playbook in tact and Waldron is familiar with the division, the offense, the players, and the organization. He will at least be rumored and he has helped Geno Smith reach the NFC Pro Bowl this year.
Chris Foerster, 49ers OL coach/run game coordinator
As part of the Kyle Shanahan coaching tree, which runs close to McVay’s roots, Foerster brings a strong offensive resume and he could help turn around the L.A. offensive line next season. It also means potentially landing a blow against Shanahan’s offensive staff and he’s familiar with the NFC West.
DeMeco Ryans, 49ers DC
Sure to get a head coaching job this year, Ryans could be the top head coaching candidate who has never been a head coach before. This also means addition by subtracting from Shanahan’s staff.
Ben Johnson, Lions OC
Has helped Jared Goff have some of the best games of his career. His connections to Stafford (two years as an assistant in Detroit when Stafford was there) won’t hurt either, and the Lions are fifth in scoring.
Lou Anarumo, Bengals DC
He works for Zac Taylor, so there’s again some familiarity, system-to-system, and he is one of the top defensive coordinators in the NFL. At 56, Anarumo is on the opposite end of McVay on the first-time coaching age spectrum.
Who would you like to see the Rams to talk to?