Head coaching job Ben Johnson might actually leave the Lions for is expected to be open

Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson will be in demand for head coaching openings, and a job he may actually leave for is well lined up to be open.


In lieu of taking an in-person head coaching interview with the Carolina Panthers last January, Ben Johnson never got on the plane and decided to stay on as the Detroit Lions' offensive coordinator for at least one more year.

In hindsight, after Frank Reich was fired by the Panthers 11 games into the season, Johnson made an even better career decision than it looked like he did at the time. Not that he would have necessarily taken the job if it had been offered to him, but the opportunity to offer it to him was never there.

The Panthers feel sure to circle back to Johnson in their search for a new head coach. But if anything, he'd probably want the job less now than he did 10 months ago. Owner David Tepper basically acknowledged he's a meddler and will veto football people, and Johnson will have options if he wants to entertain them. Any head coaching candidate with options will not want to work in Carolina.

Head coaching job Ben Johnson might consider leaving Lions for is set to be open

The Los Angeles Chargers have lost three games in a row to fall to 4-7 this season. With the playoffs pretty much out of the question, head coach Brandon Staley's seat has never been hotter. His tone-deaf comments after nearly every game only accelerates the idea he'll be gone as soon as the Chargers' season is over.

Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report, after Reich's firing, reported Staley now occupies the "hottest seat in the league." That's not exactly a revelation, but notable nonetheless.

Joe Person of The Athletic (subscription required), in a look at Panthers' head coaching candidates since he covers that team, noted that many in league circles expect the Chargers to have Johnson atop their wish list for 2024.

The Chargers consistently underachieve, regardless of who the head coach is. But with Justin Herbert in place under center and a talented roster overall, the job will be very appealing to candidates if/when Staley is fired. Offensive minds like Johnson would surely love to work with Herbert.

It's unclear how seriously Johnson will consider head coaching opportunities after the season. There's a chance he shuts down the interview process again, and chooses to stay with the Lions for another season.

But the Chargers' job, assuming it comes open on "Black Monday" and they want to interview him, should be one that intrigues the Lions' offensive coordinator. If the Panthers' job is a one or a zero on a 1-10 scale of likelihood Johnson would leave the Lions for, the Chargers are at least a five.

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