The Washington Redskins became the first team to fire their head coach in the 2019 season when they let Jay Gruden go on Monday. It has taken no time for a big name to be linked to their coaching vacancy after Redskins owner Dan Snyder took a trip to Pittsburgh.
Dan Snyder was rumored to have been in Pittsburgh this week. This trip has triggered rumors that the owner wants to bring current Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin as the next head coach of the Redskins.
Bowles and Bieniemy could be acquired after simple interviews during the offseason. However, if the Redskins want Tomlin, they would need to trade for the Steelers head coach, as Tomlin just signed a one-year extension in July that will take him through the 2021 season.
It’s quite rare, but teams can still trade for head coaches in the NFL. The last time a head coach trade was in the news was when the Cleveland Browns were interested in then-49ers coach Jim Harbaugh in 2014, which of course, never panned out. Let’s check out some of the notable coaching trades in NFL history.
Chiefs bring in Herm Edwards
The last time an NFL team sent draft compensation for a head coach was back in 2006. The Chiefs sent a fourth-round pick to the New York Jets to bring Herm Edwards in as head coach after the Jets agreed to let Edwards out of his contract.
Things didn’t exactly go as planned in Kansas City. Edwards went just 15-33 in three years with the Chiefs. He reached the playoffs in his first year in Kansas City, going 9-7, but was one-and-done. The team crumbled to 4-12 and 2-14 in the following two seasons. Edwards is currently in his second season at Arizona State.
Buccaneers hit the jackpot with Gruden
In 2002, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were in search of a new head coach after firing Tony Dungy. One of their targets was Bill Parcells. When that didn’t work out, they set their sights on Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. It took a heavy dose of draft picks to do so. Oakland received two first-round picks in 2002 and 2003, two second-round picks in 2002 and 2004, and $8 million in cash while Tampa Bay got their head coach in Gruden. We all know what happened next.
Tampa Bay boasted one of the greatest defenses in league history, led by defensive linemen Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice, LB Derrick Brooks, and DBs Ronde Barber and John Lynch. They rode that defense to a 12-4 record and the number two seed in the NFC playoffs. After wins over San Francisco and Philadelphia, the Buccaneers were off to their first Super Bowl, where fate would have them meet with Gruden’s former team, the Oakland Raiders. The defense dominated, picking off Raiders QB Rich Gannon five times en route to a 48-21 thumping of the Raiders, giving the Buccaneers their only Super Bowl title in franchise history.
Gruden would last until 2008 with the Raiders before embarking on a nine-year stint as a color commentator for Monday Night Football. In 2018, Gruden returned for his second stint with the Raiders and will see the team through their move next year to Las Vegas.
Patriots begin dynasty with the hiring of Belichick
The year 2000 may have seen the most famous coaching trade of all time. The New York Jets were all set to name Bill Belichick their next head coach after the retiring of Bill Parcells. The Jets were ready to promote Belichick, who was the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the past three seasons, to head coach. Then out of nowhere, Belichick stepped down as head coach. Belichick turned his media introduction into a resignation press conference. He lasted one day, officially, as Jets head coach.
A few weeks later, Belichick took the job as head coach of the New England Patriots, and the rest is history.
In turn, the Jets argued that Belichick was still under contract to the team and wanted compensation from the Patriots in exchange for the hiring of Belichick. The Jets were eventually given a first-round pick in 2000, a fourth-round pick in 2001, and a seventh-round pick in 2002.
The Patriots received draft picks as well in the deal, getting a fifth-round pick in 2001 and a seventh-round pick in 2002, so the teams effectively swapped picks in the seventh-round in 2002.
The Jets settled on Al Groh as head coach, who had served as their linebackers coach for three years. He lasted one year before accepting the head coaching job at his alma mater, the University of Virginia.
Parcells flies with the Jets
The Bill Belichick trade to the Patriots wasn’t the first time the Patriots and Jets swung a deal involving a head coach. In 1997, the Jets were eyeing then-Patriots head coach Bill Parcells to be their next HC. Parcells decided to leave New England after disagreements with owner Robert Kraft.
But as it turned out, Parcells’ contract did not allow him to coach elsewhere. The Jets found a loophole by initially hiring Parcells in an advisory role for the Jets and hiring Belichick as head coach. New England was not happy and filed a complaint. After review, then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was able to get Parcells out of his contract with the Patriots. New England received a third and fourth-round pick in 1997, a second-round pick in 1998, and a first-round pick in 1999.
Parcells went 29-19 in three years with the Jets before retiring with the hope of having Belichick succeed him. We all know now how that went. The Patriots rolled with Pete Carroll for three seasons before landing Belichick.
Other notable coaching trades in sports
The NFL isn’t the only league that has seen coaching trades. The NBA has seen the most-recent coaching trade, as the Boston Celtics received a first-round pick in 2015 from the Los Angeles Clippers for head coach Doc Rivers. The NBA also saw a deal involving Stan Van Gundy heading to the Orlando Magic while the Miami Heat received second-round picks in 2007 and 2008.
Major League Baseball has seen a few managerial trades, including a manager-for-manager trade way back in 1960. Joe Gordon was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Jimmy Dykes, who went to the Cleveland Indians. Their most recent trade was seeing Ozzie Guillen sign with the Florida Marlins in 2011 after being released from the final year his contract with the Chicago White Sox. Chicago received two minor-league players in exchange.