Former Lions head coach Jim Caldwell has yet to get another opportunity, but he looks to be a solid candidate for at least two openings.
Pending what happens in Week 18, Jim Caldwell was head coach the last time the Detroit Lions made the playoffs (2016). Going 9-7 in 2017 wasn’t good enough to keep his job, as then-general manager Bob Quinn took the opportunity provided by not making the playoffs to hire Matt Patricia.
Caldwell has surfaced as a head coaching candidate over the years since being fired by the Lions, including two interviews (Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears) just last year. But now 67 years old, with his 68th birthday coming on Jan. 16, and not having coached at all since leaving his post as Miami Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach during the 2019 season due to health concerns, it might be this year or never for Caldwell to get another shot as a head coach.
Talking to The 33rd Team recently, Caldwell said he’d like to be a head coach again but acknowledged that he might be left out as others get a chance.
"I have a strong desire to get back in the league as a head football coach,” he said, via The 33rd Team. “… It’s not necessarily all about me… There’s a lot of other great candidates out there…. I’d love to see some of those guys get a job and maybe I’m left on the sideline. I’d love that.”"
Could Jim Caldwell be a candidate for (at least) two head coaching jobs?
The Denver Broncos are looking for a new head coach after firing Nathaniel Hackett with two games to go this season. As they likely lean toward someone with head coaching experience, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio put Caldwell on his list of options for Denver.
"Jim Caldwell: Caldwell led the Colts to Super Bowl XLIV, and he had the chronically dysfunctional Lions moving in the right direction before being replaced by Matt Patricia"
Our friends over at Predominantly Orange mentioned Caldwell as a perfect fit for the Broncos a month ago.
Jeff Saturday is a presumptive candidate to be the Indianapolis Colts’ permanent head coach. But they have to do a full search, and Drake Wally of SI.com pegged Caldwell for a return to Indianapolis as a candidate who checks every box they should value.
"Is Caldwell the bright and shiny option? Not even close. Payton and Harbaugh are the kings of the coaching race in the NFL right now, regardless of what is to come. However, nobody is discussing how good Caldwell would be for a Colts team that is likely to draft a young quarterback who needs an experienced head coach that not only knows the NFL but has seen and done it all"
If he were to choose between the Broncos and Colts, even merely to accept an interview, Caldwell might well choose the Colts. They are starting over at quarterback, while the Broncos are likely stuck with Russell Wilson for at least one more year before they can consider taking the loss and moving on.
The Carolina Panthers will be undertaking a full search for a head coach, and the Arizona Cardinals are likely to be embarking on one this time next week after firing Kliff Kingsbury. Both would do well to talk to Caldwell, so the former Lions’ head coach may have a pretty full interview schedule. If he wants it, of course.