Ranking the Top NFL Coaches Available to Hire for 2020

December 30, 2019 - 9:16 am

It's funny how a few years away can cure all (or enough) ills.

In December of 2014, the San Francisco 49ers parted ways with head coach Jim Harbaugh after four seasons. Harbaugh, from a wins and losses perspective, had been wildly successful as the 49ers' head coach. He had a 44-19-1 record as the team's head coach in the regular season, and led them to an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII. And yet, Harbaugh later admitted that his exit from San Francisco wasn't mutual - he was fired.

Prior to coming to the NFL, Harbaugh spent six seasons as a college head coach, four of which came at Stanford. In college, the head coach is the superstar. You can wear players down because they'll either graduate or leave for the NFL in five years or less and a new crop of 18 year olds will come in. From that sense, his intensity is perhaps best suited in the college game.

Still, Harbaugh had a .695 winning percentage in four seasons as an NFL head coach. He was perhaps a pass interference call away from winning a Super Bowl. Maybe he isn't geared to stay in one place for 12 years and counting like his brother, John, has in Baltimore. But, wouldn't a team like the Cleveland Browns - who have a roster littered with skill-position talent but seem to lack structure - sign up for a half decade of success? Whether Jim would be interested in coaching in the same division as his brother is a fair question, but after five seasons - and zero wins over Ohio State - at Michigan, his honeymoon there seems up. For the first time in some time, Harbaugh could potentially be intrigued by a second chance in the NFL.

It's just something to ponder now that the Browns have dismissed Freddie Kitchens. Remember, once upon a time, the Browns did try to trade for Harbaugh, according to RADIO.COM NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

While Harbaugh is an outside-the-box candidate, here are the best candidates for NFL head coaching vacancies: