5 head coaches on the hot seat heading into the 2024 NFL season

New York Jets Mandatory Minicamp
New York Jets Mandatory Minicamp / Luke Hales/GettyImages

As the NFL season approaches, several head coaches find themselves under pressure to deliver strong performances, or they may face unemployment. This offseason saw eight new head coaching hires across the league, signaling that some coaches are on notice to improve.

Here are five head coaches who are certainly on shaky ground this year.

. . 30. . Robert Saleh. Hot seat. 1. . .

Robert Saleh is entering his fourth season as the head coach of the Jets, with much left to prove. Last offseason, the team went all in on acquiring Aaron Rodgers, only for him to tear his Achilles a few snaps into the first game of the year, sidelining him for the season.

Saleh was given a pass for last year's struggles due to the disastrous quarterback situation post-Rodgers injury. However, this year will be the true test of his tenure. With an overall record of 18-33, Saleh's future with the Jets is heavily dependent on Rodgers' performance. If the team fails to improve and misses the playoffs again, the Jets may need to search for a new head coach and potentially a new quarterback for the future.

. Matt Eberflus. . . . 2. 57. . Hot Seat.

Instead of starting over completely after trading Justin Fields, the franchise, showing some promise with its overall roster, decided to use the #1 overall pick to draft a new quarterback, Caleb Williams. They chose to retain Matt Eberflus for an additional year despite his 10-24 record going into his third season, relying on a rookie QB to significantly improve the team's performance.

This is a bold decision, as it might have been wiser to start fresh with a new coaching staff alongside a hopeful franchise QB. However, Ryan Poles had other ideas. For Eberflus to keep his job, Caleb Williams needs to have a strong rookie year, and the Bears need to be competitive in the wild card race.

. . 15. . . . 3. . Hot Seat. Dennis Allen

The Saints are mired in mediocrity post-Sean Payton and Drew Brees. New Orleans hasn't been completely awful, but they haven't been good either—just treading water in the realm of average. For the past couple of years, the Saints have been in cap room hell, and they missed their chance to blow it all up and start fresh.

A full rebuild is what this team desperately needs, and sticking with Dennis Allen isn’t a wise decision for the foreseeable future.

The Saints lack a clear direction moving forward. Their better players are older and expensive, and New Orleans needs to move on from them to save cap space. Additionally, the Saints don’t have a strong young core to build around for the future. The best way to kickstart a rebuild is to trade those veteran players, accumulate draft picks, and start fresh with a new Head Coach.

. . . . 52. . 4. Hot Seat. Doug Pederson.

Entering his third year as the Jaguars' head coach, Doug Pederson has led the team to back-to-back 9-8 seasons, bringing a level of stability not seen in Jacksonville for a long time. However, despite this improvement, the Jaguars experienced an all-time collapse last season, missing the playoffs.

With Trevor Lawrence recently securing a massive contract extension, another 9-8 season without a playoff appearance might prompt owner Shad Khan to reconsider Pederson's position. The team, featuring a talented quarterback like Lawrence, is expected to make the playoffs. Last year, the hype suggested the Jaguars could be one of the AFC's top teams. Yet, another late-season collapse and failure to reach the postseason could spell the end of Pederson's tenure.

Mike McCarthy. . . 5. . . Hot Seat. . 123.

Since last year, there has been ongoing speculation about Mike McCarthy's future with the Dallas Cowboys. With an impatient owner like Jerry Jones, anything is possible. Despite winning the NFC East last year, the Cowboys were blown out at home by the Packers. This highlighted a recurring theme: under McCarthy's leadership, the Cowboys have struggled to make a significant postseason run.

Despite having a talented offense and defense, they failed to deliver when it mattered most. This season is particularly critical, with CeeDee Lamb and Dak Prescott needing new contracts, and McCarthy coaching on a contract that expires after this season. It's shaping up to be a make-or-break year; playoff success seems imperative.

If the Cowboys fail to perform, it's possible that McCarthy could be fired, and all three—McCarthy, Prescott, and Lamb—might find themselves on new teams in 2025.