Posted on January 1, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine

Jim Caldwell

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The day all NFL head coaches fear has finally come: the day after the end of the regular season, nicknamed Black Monday. This is the day that NFL coaches are usually given their walking papers, assuming that didn’t happen during the regular season like Giants coach Ben McAdoo. Here’s a rundown of all the NFL head coaches who will start 2018 looking for a new job.

Jack Del Rio, Raiders

There was great speculation that the Raiders would let go of Del Rio so they could bring back Jon Gruden as their head coach. Despite signing a four-year extension with the team in February after leading the Raiders to a 12-4 record last year, Del Rio was fired almost immediately after Sunday’s season finale. It was definitely an unfair move by the Raiders, but they obviously want Gruden. Despite getting the boot in Oakland, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Del Rio land on his feet quickly and land another head coaching job right away. If nothing else, he’s still a top-notch defensive coordinator that teams will covet.

Chuck Pagano, Colts

Pagano getting fired Sunday night did not come as a surprise. The Colts were 4-12 this season after back-to-back 8-8 seasons in 2015 and 2016. From Pagano’s perspective, it’s a little unfair that Andrew Luck missed 26 games over the past three seasons, which is the biggest reason why the Colts struggled during that time. However, with or without Luck, a 4-12 season is unacceptable after so much success early in his tenure in Indianapolis. It was time for both sides to move on from each other.

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Jim Caldwell, Lions

The Lions made two playoff appearances and had just one losing season during Caldwell’s four years in Detroit. But the Lions still let him go Monday morning after the team’s 9-7 record in 2017 wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs. Overall, Caldwell was eight games over .500 with the Lions. But the team was 0-2 in the playoffs and struggled to beat quality teams. It seemed like under Caldwell the Lions would always be stuck in mediocrity. Firing Caldwell doesn’t necessarily solve the team’s problems. But the Lions want to take another shot at finding a coach who can take them to the next level.

John Fox, Bears

Fox may have been the least surprising firing on Black Monday, as the Bears let him go early in the day. In his three years in Chicago, Fox was 14-34. He never won more than six games in a season. He couldn’t win with Jay Cutler and never had much of a chance with rookie Mitchell Trubisky this season. Even with Fox gone, the Bears have a ton of work to do to get things turned around. That being said, Fox was clearly not the guy to get the job done in Chicago. After a rough exit in Denver and three bad years with the Bears, Fox will have a tough time getting a head coaching job in the NFL again.

Bruce Arians, Cardinals

To be clear, this is a retirement, not a firing. Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Arians would walk away from the Cardinals at season’s end. Arians disputed this, saying that no decision had been made. But in the end, he has decided to retire from coaching. His health has been an issue the past couple of years, which is far from ideal when coaching an NFL team. This appears as amicable a parting as you’ll ever see in the NFL and should be what’s best for both sides. Nevertheless, it does create another head coaching vacancy.

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