It's December, which means it's the final stretch of the NFL season and time to fire up the head-coaching rumor mill.
New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is no stranger to those rumors. The 45-year-old has been linked to head-coaching positions with several teams in recent years, most notably in 2018 when he withdrew from an agreement to become head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
With the Patriots entering the bye week at 9-4 under rookie quarterback Mac Jones, the annual tradition of connecting McDaniels to potential head-coaching vacancies is underway. The whispers of McDaniels pursuing a promotion to head coach will only get louder as Jones continues to impress in his first season. As former Pats assistant coach Dante Scarnecchia put it on a recent episode of the Next Pats Podcast, McDaniels and the Patriots' development of Jones has been "magnificent."
In a recent mailbag column, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer mentioned McDaniels as a fit for another team that could use a head coach capable of developing a young quarterback: the Chicago Bears. With Matt Nagy almost certainly on his way out, Breer lists New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, Ohio State's Ryan Day, and McDaniels as his top three candidates to replace him and develop Justin Fields.
More from Breer:
"And from there, I’m looking squarely at Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. I think what you’ve seen in New England the last four months has been an absolute clinic in how to bring along a young quarterback. The Patriots have insulated Mac Jones with a power running game, and a rugged defense, and as a result they’re rarely asking him to convert in long-yardage or play from behind, and he’s growing confidently as a result."
On paper, McDaniels to Chicago makes perfect sense. Young, dynamic QB? Check. Prestigious job? Check. A chance to turn around a franchise that's been starving for success? Check.
But as we've seen over the years whenever these rumors pop up, it'll simply come down to what McDaniels believes is the best move for him. With Jones thriving and the Patriots beginning to show flashes of the Tom Brady era, it's hard to argue any job would be more appealing than the one he has.