The Tennessee Titans parted ways with head coach Mike Mularkey on Monday, opening up another coveted job which could further complicate the Giants’ coaching search.
Mularkey went 20-21 in three seasons as head coach of the Titans and appeared to have secured another year after Tennessee’s comeback victory on the road against the Chiefs in the Wild Card round last weekend.
Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Titans GM Jon Robinson and CEO Steve Underwood even told Mularkey he would get an extension prior to Saturday’s 35-14 divisional round loss to the Patriots. And after the victory over the Chiefs, Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk gave Mularkey a vote of confidence, saying he would be the coach “moving forward.”
But Strunk sang a different tune on Monday.
“I want to thank Mike Mularkey for his contributions to our franchise over his tenure with our organization,” Strunk said in a statement. “He took over our team during a low moment and together with Jon built a solid foundation for our franchise. I appreciated that Mike devoted himself to this team and the community.
“In fact, we did discuss extending his future with our team over the past week, but in those discussions about the direction of the team, it became evident that we saw different paths to achieve greater success.”
The new opening likely makes Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels the lead candidate to land the Titans job, where he can take over a team that has an already young, successful quarterback in Marcus Mariota.
Mike Mularkey is out as Titans coach despite reportedly working toward a contract extension.
(Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
McDaniels was among the Giants’ preferred candidates but was widely believed to have fallen out of the picture for the job, likely headed to the Colts, before Mularkey was fired.
The Giants had their eyes set on Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. However, he reportedly chose the Lions over them.
With both Patriots coordinators possibly off the board, Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur becomes the most likely candidate for the Giants job, however, the Vikings 29-24 win over the Saints on Sunday means the Giants cannot officially reach an agreement with him until they are eliminated from the playoffs.
If Shurmur is the guy for the Giants, they could get word to him and make an unofficial agreement, a la Patricia and the Lions.
Shurmur reportedly wants to bring in free agent Case Keenum as a package deal to wherever he goes.
The Giants and Arizona Cardinals are the only teams Shurmur has interviewed with that have not filled their head coaching vacancy, so if the Giants want to avoid falling to their fourth choice a decision will need to be made on Shurmur quickly.