Sunday is the final day of the 2023 NFL regular season, followed by "Black Monday" when some head coaches will be let go. Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is set to have a busy interview schedule (if he wants it) at some point in the coming weeks.
The Carolina Panthers are expected to pursue Johnson, again, and the Los Angeles Chargers is an appealing job opening. But a looming job opening that has sneaky appeal now could appeal to Johnson, and a report Sunday morning from Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network confirmed that job will be open.
"The Washington Commanders finish their disappointing season at home on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. For head coach Ron Rivera, it's also probably a goodbye.
Washington is expected to part ways with Rivera on Monday, per sources, ending his tenure after four seasons."
Could the Commanders swoop in and hire Ben Johnson as their next head coach?
Pelissero and Rapoport got to the most important piece of the equation when it comes to the Commanders' head coaching job. Josh Harris has taken over as owner from Daniel Snyder, which makes the job more appealing than it has been in a long time. Everything else-a top-five draft pick in April, plenty of cap space and extra draft capital, etc.-falls in line from that.
"The Commanders job is more attractive than it's been in decades, thanks to competent ownership, some building blocks on the roster, a potential top-three draft pick and extra draft capital to potentially package and target a new franchise QB. That could appeal to the most coveted candidates in this hiring cycle, such as Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, who is expected to have multiple options."
Johnson being mentioned by name as a candidate for the Commanders' job could mean something, or it may ultimately mean absolutely nothing. But it is interesting that he's the only name specifically mentioned by the NFL Media insiders as a potential candidate for the job, and it's fair to assume they wouldn't drop a name without some solid sourcing to back it.
Johnson will have options, insofar as he will entertain taking a head coaching job this year. The Commanders have an appealing situation to offer, and they should not be dismissed as the team that will land him if he's willing to leave the Lions.