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Former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel will take whatever head coaching job Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia don’t accept

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And I don’t mean that in a mean way.

NFL: DEC 14 Patriots at Raiders Photo by Al Golub/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

Houston Texans defensive coordinator and former New England Patriots All Pro linebacker Mike Vrabel is considered a finalist for two head coaching vacancies- but he’s considered the back-up or silver medal to the current Patriots coordinators.

We’ve long known that the two finalists for the Detroit Lions head coaching position are Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Vrabel. The fact that Vrabel is not hired means that he’s the team’s second choice. Patricia cannot be hired until the Patriots season ends, while Vrabel is able to sign immediately.

So Vrabel must wait on Patricia for the Lions head coaching job.

According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Vrabel is also one of two finalists for the Indianapolis Colts head coaching job- the other being Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Again, the fact that Vrabel has not been hired means that he’s Indianapolis’ second choice to McDaniels.

Vrabel must wait until both Patriots coordinators make their decisions before he knows what job he’ll have for 2018. And both McDaniels and Patricia are waiting hear back from the New York Giants where they’re two of the three finalists according to the New York Post, alongside Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, while Rapoport says that Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is a fourth candidate in contention.

Shurmur and Wilks are also top candidates for the Arizona Cardinals opening, one of the four still unfilled, so there will be an immediate domino effect when one position is filled, like initiated by the Giants or Cardinals making an offer.

There’s a very real chance that Vrabel doesn’t end up with a head coaching job at all.

Shurmur could bring Case Keenum to the Arizona Cardinals, while Wilks could leverage his preexisting relationship with Giants general manager Dave Gettleman for the New York job, leaving McDaniels with the Colts, Patricia with the Lions, and Vrabel waiting another year for an opening to show up.