Sources: Josh McDaniels ‘all-in,’ and so are the Las Vegas Raiders on McDaniels-Dave Ziegler partnership

After a decade-plus as an assistant, Josh McDaniels is poised to become a head coach again -- this time, with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler are poised to form a partnership in Las Vegas as the Las Vegas Raiders’ expected new head coach and general manager, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.

Long before this moment, they were college teammates at Division III John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. Now, McDaniels and Ziegler are set to form a New England Patriots West Coast edition.

Update: According to a report from Ian Rapoport, the Las Vegas Raiders are expected to hire Dave Ziegler to be their next general manager. Meanwhile, Adam Schefter reported that Josh McDaniels is set to be the Raiders’ next head coach.

Josh McDaniels met with the Raiders on Friday

McDaniels had dinner with the Raiders’ leadership team on Friday night, according to sources. He is expected to be hired along with Ziegler within the next few days.

Unlike when McDaniels backed out of an agreed-upon deal with the Indianapolis Colts, this time he’s not expected to get cold feet.

McDaniels informed the Raiders that he wouldn’t accept their interview request unless he was being offered the job, per sources. And the Raiders told McDaniels that if and when he was offered the position, he needed to be prepared to accept. Sources emphasized that all parties are on the same page, including McDaniels, Ziegler, Raiders owner Mark Davis, and team president Dan Ventrelle.

Raiders will rely on McDaniels-Ziegler partnership

When McDaniels was head coach of the Denver Broncos, he hired Ziegler to work in the scouting department. At the time, Ziegler was an assistant coach at an Arizona high school.

Ziegler has since worked his way up the New England ranks. He just wrapped up his first season as the Patriots’ player personnel director after spending several years in pro personnel and scouting.

Now, Ziegler is about to join his good friend in Las Vegas. It’s a coveted job, attached to one of the glitziest locations and stadiums in the National Football League.

Ziegler will become one of several former Patriots staffers now in an NFL general manager role. That list includes Jason Licht (Buccaneers), Jon Robinson (Titans), and Nick Caserio (Texans).

Raiders owner Mark Davis willing to spend big for the right coach

McDaniels is the highest-paid assistant coach in the NFL at roughly $4 million annually. He’ll need more to make the jump to Las Vegas, and the Raiders have an owner in Mark Davis who is — as we know with former HC Jon Gruden — willing to spend the money if he thinks he has the right guy.

McDaniels has been lauded for his previous work with star quarterback Tom Brady during his New England tenure. He’s also been praised for this season’s efforts developing Mac Jones, a first-round draft pick from Alabama. McDaniels has three Super Bowl victories as an offensive coordinator and was part of New England’s staff for six Super Bowl wins.

McDaniels, 45, was hired as the Broncos’ head coach in 2009. He went 8-8 in his first season after beginning the year with six consecutive wins. However, he was then fired in 2010 after starting 3-9 in his second campaign.

Will McDaniels’ withdrawal from the Colts’ job hurt his candidacy?

In 2018, McDaniels was announced as the Indianapolis Colts’ new head coach. He withdrew from the position and remained with the Patriots. Although McDaniels reneging on the agreement created fallout (including agent Bob LaMonte terminating his representation), any hard feelings or hesitation toward McDaniels has eased around the league.

As for Ziegler, he’s regarded as a strong talent evaluator with a good background in pro and college scouting. He reportedly has a sense of the big picture and developed a task-oriented style while working under Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

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