The Eagles could soon be in the market for a defensive coordinator as Jonathan Gannon is not only getting far more head coaching interest than expected, but also might be one of the finalists for the Houston Texans head coaching job.
If Gannon does leave, the Eagles will be looking for a defensive coordinator for the second-straight offseason.
So if Gannon is gone, who could the Eagles hire?
Here are a few names to keep an eye on:
Vic Fangio: Fangio is going to be the name at the top of every fan’s wish list. There is good reason why. Fangio has 19 years of experience as a defensive coordinator in the NFL, with his defensive finishing in the top 10 in points allowed nine times. Fangio’s defense was 3rd in the NFL in points allowed this past season despite playing in the same division as Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. One concern with hiring Fangio is that he likes to run a 3-4, which the Eagles’ personal might not be suited for, but that shouldn’t stop the team from having interest.
Wink Martindale: A surprise fire by the Ravens, Martindale has been one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL over the last few seasons. His Ravens defense has been inside the three in points allowed three of the last five seasons. Martindale specializes in linebacker play, having coached the position for 12 seasons in the NFL. That is certainly a plus considering the Eagles’ need at linebacker. Like Fangio, however, Martindale runs a 3-4, which isn’t ideal.
Dennard Wilson, Eagles: If the Eagles are looking to keep some continuity they could promote their current defensive backs coach, Dennard Wilson. The Eagles secondary was not elite this season, but they also weren’t the issue, which is impressive considering the lack of personnel at safety. Wilson also got career years out of both Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox, and was very popular amongst the players, with Slay viewing him as a potential defensive coordinator in the league. Wilson is going to be on the short list soon for defensive coordinator positions around the league. The Eagles might be wise to be a little early on Wilson as opposed to too late and watching him leave to go to another team.
Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots: The Eagles have shown interest in Mayo before, interviewing him for their head coaching job last season before hiring Nick Sirianni. Mayo is one of the top coaching candidates in the NFL, having interviewed for multiple head-coaching jobs around the league. It isn’t clear if he would be willing to take a defensive coordinator job, but if he is, the Eagles will likely have a ton of interest. Mayo coming to the Eagles could also increase his chances of landing a head coaching job, considering he would be completely running the defense on his own, as opposed to being under Bill Belichick in New England.
Kris Richard, New Orleans Saints: A former player, Richard coached in Seattle during the Legion of Boom, helping to build up a secondary that dominated the NFL. Richard was quickly promoted to defensive coordinator after Dan Quinn left, and saw some immediate success, with his defense finishing inside the top three in points allowed in his first two seasons. Richard has bounced around a bit since then, however, spending one year in Dallas before a coaching change left him looking for a new job, when he landed in New Orleans. Still just 42-years old, Richard would be a very interesting option for the Eagles, with a nice combination of both youth and a successful resume.
Eric Washington, Buffalo Bills: Washington would come to the Eagles from a Buffalo staff that had the best defense in the NFL this season (even though it might not have looked like it vs. Kansas City). Washington specializes in defensive line play, which is important considering the Eagles are going to be adding multiple pass rushers this offseason. Washington has experience as a defensive coordinator, leading the Carolina Panthers defense for team seasons in 2018 and 2019. The results were not pretty (19th and 31st in points allowed), but the Panthers were a bad team overall.
You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org