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NFL 2021 head coaching carousel: It looks increasingly likely that Josh McDaniels will stay with the Patriots

Related: Quick-hit thoughts on Nick Caserio leaving the Patriots to become new Texans GM

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

There are six NFL head coaching openings at the moment, and all six of those organizations are busy conducting interviews and vetting potential candidates for the available jobs. One name that is suspiciously missing compared to years past is New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and it seems as if that will not change.

McDaniels has had no interviews scheduled for any of the open spots so far, and the team with the closest connection to him — the Houston Texans — is apparently also not interested in bringing him aboard. According to a report by the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain, the Patriots’ long-time offensive play caller will not become the Texans’ next head coach despite Nick Caserio just joining the organization as its general manager.

The McDaniels-Caserio connection was an obvious starting point for speculation about the former being a candidate to take over the role last held by another ex-Patriot, Bill O’Brien. After all, the two spent most of the last two decades together in New England and have been close friends since their college days at John Carroll University.

It appears as if the Texans will move in a different direction, however, regardless of them signing Caserio to a six-year deal.

The five other teams looking for new head coaches, meanwhile, have also not actively gone after McDaniels. He did not have any interviews in this hiring cycle, with the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons all preferring to look at other candidates first. While things can obviously change quickly this time of the year, all signs point towards him not leaving New England this time.

If McDaniels indeed stays put, he would return for a 10th straight season as the team’s offensive coordinator — and 13th overall, including his first stint with the Patriots. This would obviously be welcome news for a club heading into an uncertain future on this side of the ball, with Tom Brady now in Tampa Bay and Cam Newton scheduled to enter unrestricted free agency off a rather disappointing season.

Having some stability on the sidelines should make a potential transition away from Newton easier, or help him get more comfortable in a second year in New England.

McDaniels, meanwhile, was open to the idea of becoming a head coach again. He already led the Denver Broncos for one-and-a-half rather tumultuous years between 2009 and 2010, but when the topic came up during a recent media conference call he said that he “definitely” would like to get another shot at leading a team.

“Absolutely. I definitely want to do that. I’d love to have that opportunity if it presents itself.”

The 44-year-old did have some opportunities to leave the Patriots again over the years, but none of them materialized. He came closest to leaving in 2018, when the Indianapolis Colts already announced him as their new head coach based on a verbal agreement. That deal eventually fell apart and McDaniels returned to New England, where he was given a new contract reportedly paying him on a first-year head coaching level.

Since that experience, he interviewed for two more teams. McDaniels talked to the Green Bay Packers in 2019 and the Cleveland Browns one year later. It seems as if 2021 will not bring an opportunity at a head coaching gig, however, at least from the current perspective.