Commanders have Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson as No. 1 candidate to be their next head coach

It's not a massive surprise, but the Washington Commanders reportedly have Lions offensive coordinator atop their list of candidates to be their next head coach.


Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is again one of the most coveted head coaching candidates as interview requests have been submitted. The Washington Commanders were the first to submit an interview request after firing Ron Rivera, as they also did so for Lions' defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.

When the Washington job was trending toward being open, it was easy to point to it being one that could appeal to Johnson. He was later the only specifically named candidate for the job by NFL Network reporters Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport.

Amid the report the Commanders were hiring Adam Peters as their new general manager, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network added a note that Johnson was "firmly in play" for the head coaching job.

On Saturday morning, Dianna Russini of The Athletic added more fuel to the idea the Commanders highly covet Johnson.

Why the Washington Commanders' job would have great appeal to Ben Johnson

With eight straight losses to end their season and finish 4-13, the Commanders landed the second overall pick in April's draft. They have a total of five picks in the top-100 picks (three in the top-40, four in the top-70). A quarterback of the future, on the idea Sam Howell will not be tabbed the guy by a new regime, is within reach. Someone of Johnson's ilk as an offensive-minded coach could hand-pick his guy in the draft.

Whatever the precise amount you find is, via Spotrac or Over The Cap, the Commanders currently have the most cap space in the league for 2024. Apart from that, they have talented pieces in place on both sides of the ball already. So it could be a quick rebuild in Washington, not unlike the one Johnson has been a part of in Detroit.

The overriding question remains: To what extent will Johnson entertain head coaching jobs this year? He turned down an interview with the Carolina Panthers a year ago and decided to stay with the Lions. He could pull himself out of the process again at some point, but head coaching opportunities will eventually stop coming if he keeps doing that.

The Commanders may have Johnson as their top candidate, but it takes two to tango. But, unlike the second pursuit of him the Panthers are undertaking, Johnson would have good reason to dance with the Commanders and fully flesh out the potential opportunity to be their new head coach.

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