While Detroit Lions fans are still feeling the pain of Sunday's 34-31 defeat by the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, thanks in part to some questionable fourth-down decisions by head coach Dan Campbell, the franchise got some tremendous news Tuesday with in-demand offensive coordinator Ben Johnson announcing he would return next season instead of taking a head coaching job with Seattle or Washington. SportsLine offers odds on the next Commanders coach with Johnson now off the board.
Johnson was the massive favorite to get the Commanders job – I saw odds as low as -200 at one book -- because of his offensive background and work with Lions quarterback Jared Goff, resurrecting the career of the former No. 1 overall pick. Washington will be starting anew with a young QB next season as it picks second in the 2024 Draft. The Commanders will likely take either North Carolina's Drake Maye or LSU's Jayden Daniels, the 2023 Heisman winner, at that spot – assuming USC's Caleb Williams goes first to Chicago.
It's stunning decision by the 37-year-old Johnson to tell both the Commanders and Seahawks no, the second straight offseason he has opted to stay in Motown. There had been some reports that Johnson would stay unless he got around $15 million per season from a new team, and ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported that some teams balked at Johnson's asking price. The Lions are currently +700 third-favorites to win Super Bowl 59 next season behind the two Super Bowl 58 teams, the 49ers (+550) and Chiefs (+600).
The 2023 season was the first for Houston's Bobby Slowik as an NFL offensive coordinator after spending the previous several years as an assistant with the Niners. Slowik actually began his NFL coaching career as a defensive assistant with Washington in 2011. He worked wonders in 2023 with Texans QB CJ Stroud, who had arguably the greatest rookie season ever at that position and got Houston into the playoffs. Is just one year of coordinating experience enough for Washington? Slowik is a big analytics advocate, something the Commanders have placed a strong emphasis on under new owner Josh Harris.
The other reported candidates all are from the defensive side of the ball: Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, Ravens associate head coach/defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, Cowboys DC Dan Quinn and Lions DC Aaron Glenn. We should note that neither Quinn's nor Glenn's units finished on a strong note in playoff losses. Quinn is the clear favorite to take the Seattle top job given his connections to the franchise.
Washington's senior VP of football strategy, Eugene Shen, was the Ravens' director of coaching analytics from 2014-2019 and initially shared an office with Macdonald. The two became friends.
Mike Vrabel has apparently not interviewed with the Commanders, but perhaps that changes now.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Who will be the next Commanders head coach?
- Bobby Slowik +200
- Mike Macdonald +300
- Dan Quinn +500
- Mike Vrabel +900
- Aaron Glenn +1000
- Anthony Weaver +1500
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