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Can the Jaguars get a head start on hiring a head coach?

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars are now in the search for a new head coach, but contrary to popular belief the Jaguars don’t get as much of a head start as people seem to think they do. I’ve seen a lot of people saying that firing Gus Bradley now, in-season, lets the team get a head start ahead of other teams hiring their new head coach. This is true, if the Jaguars only want to pull from the pull of currently unemployed coaches. Those are the only coaches they can inquire about until after the 2016 NFL season, and even then there are strict rules teams must follow to avoid tampering penalties.

Can’t the Jaguars just hire a coach now?

Sure, but as I mentioned the pool they can pull from is limited to only coaches who are currently unemployed. They could hire someone line Jeff Fisher, Jon Gruden, Tom Coughlin etc., but their best course of action is to wait until they can also interview active NFL coaches, which is after the 2016 season.

Can the Jaguars interview candidates now?

Sure, but again it can only be currently unemployed (free agent) coaching prospects. During the season, it is against NFL rules to even inquire about a head coach/assistant coach.

When can the Jaguars interview employed candidates?

After the 2016 regular season has ended, barring they’re not in the NFL playoffs.

When can the Jaguars interview candidates in the NFL playoffs?

If a candidate for the Jaguars head coach position is currently employed by a team in the NFL playoffs, the Jaguars will have to request permission to interview said coach and said couch must also indicate to the owner of the team that he/she is interested in interviewing for the job. There cannot be any direct contact with said coach and the Jaguars during the inquiry. If the Jaguars are granted permission to interview the coach, then they are allowed only a single interview during the post season with said coach and it must be held in that coach’s home team’s city. For instance, if the Jaguars wanted to interview Josh McDaniels, they would have to interview him in New England.

There are also rules of when exactly the coaches can be interviewed during the playoffs. If the coach is employed by a team with a bye during Wild Card weekend, the Jaguars must interview that coach before the conclusion of the Wild Card games. That means the window for coaches on teams with bye weeks in Round 1 of the 2016 NFL playoffs is during the first week of games. For coaches employed by team’s who are in the Wild Card games, they must be interviewed after the Wild Card win/loss but before the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.

After the divisional playoffs, no interviews may be requested or granted for a coach who is employed by a team still playing in the post season.