5 potential candidates to replace Dan Campbell as Detroit Lions head coach

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 11: Head coach Dan Campbell of the Detroit Lions looks on during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field on September 11, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 11: Head coach Dan Campbell of the Detroit Lions looks on during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field on September 11, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /
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Mandatory Credit: Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune-USA TODAY Sports /

4. Matt Campbell, Iowa State head coach

Matt Campbell has been on the NFL’s radar, including a report the Lions offered him an eight-year, $68.5 million contract before hiring Dan Campbell. He’s in his seventh season as the Cyclones’ head coach, with a 45-37 record. Counting his time as head coach at Toledo (2011-2015), he is 80-52 as a college head coach.

To that end, Campbell is an automatic candidate to make the jump to (at least theoretically) a higher profile college job until further notice–Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan if Jim Harbaugh ever leaves, etc. But thus far he seems very comfortable in Ames, to the point he has surely turned down more money to leave–even NFL money if the report about the Lions is true (and it was dismissed by other outlets).

The struggles of Urban Meyer and Matt Rhule to transition to the NFL after success in college, and the similar struggles of others going further back (Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, etc.), should not automatically transfer as a black mark on Campbell’s potential candidacy for job openings.

It will ultimately come down to whether or not Campbell will entertain leaving Iowa State for any other job after this season, college or NFL. But the Lions wanted him the last time around, apart from the rumored/refuted offer of a massive contract, and they could circle back with interest if Dan Campbell is let go.