Brandon Staley Opens As Favorite To Win NFL Coach of the Year

The Los Angeles Chargers are a chic pick to make a Super Bowl run, and as such, their head coach is getting some love.

Brandon Staley has been instituted as the early favorite to win NFL Coach of the Year, according to DraftKings on May 24. The second-year coach of the Chargers is listed with +1400 odds, which edges out new Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett and new Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel, who are both listed at +1600.

The Chargers are competing in the toughest division in the NFL, but while the AFC West is stacked with the Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders, Los Angeles fans have reason to be optimistic.

Justin Herbert is one of the best young quarterbacks in the game and the team spent the offseason adding high-level pieces to the roster. Edge rusher Khalil Mack was acquired via trade, cornerback J.C. Jackson was signed as a free agent and guard Zion Johnson was taken with the No. 17 overall selection.

Los Angeles’ Super Bowl odds are +1400, the sixth-best in the NFL, per DraftKings. The Chargers’ odds to win the division sit at +225, which is slightly behind Kansas City and narrowly ahead of Denver. If Los Angeles is able to capture the AFC West crown, Staley would likely earn major kudos and be in the running for Coach of the Year.

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The season is a long way away, but the oddsmakers at DraftKings believe Staley is the worthy favorite before the action begins. Here is a look at the odds for the other 31 NFL coaches:

T-2. Nathaniel Hackett, Broncos (+1600)

The Broncos fired Vic Fangio after a 7-10 campaign and replaced him with Hackett, the former offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. Hackett received a tremendous welcome gift when Denver traded for quarterback Russsell Wilson this offseason. The Broncos have a solid roster and the upgrade at quarterback has them thinking a Super Bowl is in reach. If Hackett can help lead Denver to among the league’s best records, he will be in the mix.

T-2. Mike McDaniel, Dolphins (+1600)

Another new coach, and another who saw the talent on his roster get upgraded immensely this offseason. Miami added wide receiver Tyreek Hill, left tackle Terron Armstead, running back Chase Edmonds and a host of others as McDaniel aims to find the success that was so common during his assistant coaching days with the San Francisco 49ers. Tua Tagovailoa is the quarterback and there are still serious questions about his long-term viability, but if McDaniel can get the offense humming even without a star under center, it will be a feather in his cap in the Coach of the Year race.

T-4. Josh McDaniels, Raiders (+1800)

The Raiders added star wide receiver Davante Adams on offense and star edge rusher Chandler Jones on defense. Las Vegas is widely seen as the worst team in the juggernaut AFC West, but there are a lot of pieces here to work with. If the Raiders make the playoffs and are more competitive than believed in the division, it is easy to see McDaniels getting a lot of credit.

T-4. Sean McDermott, Bills (+1800)

The Bills are the preseason Super Bowl favorites, so Buffalo will really need to excel for McDermott to win the award. One thing that helps: Despite being one of the best teams in the league last season, Buffalo finished just 11-6, so a win-loss improvement is likely. The Bills could very well run roughshod over the rest of the NFL this season, and if that happens, McDermott will be in the running for Coach of the Year, even with the high expectations.

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T-6. Bill Belichick, Patriots (+2000)

New England made the playoffs last season but expectations are middling in 2022. If Mac Jones takes a leap forward and the defense once again excels, the Patriots could be better than believed. Belichick is widely regarded as one of the best coaches ever, so if New England does challenge Buffalo in the division or plays like an AFC contender, it will be easy for Belichick to be in Coach of the Year contention.

T-6. Zac Taylor, Bengals (+2000)

Cincy made a Cinderella run to the Super Bowl last season and geared up this offseason for a possible encore. Despite last year’s run, the Bengals are not generally seen as one of the best teams in the NFL heading into 2022. If quarterback Joe Burrow can continue his ascent and Cincinnati wins the competitive AFC North, Taylor will be looking good, especially considering the residual effects of the 2021 run remaining in voters’ minds.

T-6. Todd Bowles, Buccaneers (+2000)

Tampa Bay has high expectations once again now that Tom Brady is back. If the Bucs finish with the best record in the NFC, would that be enough for Bowles, the replacement for Bruce Arians, to win Coach of the Year? It’s an interesting question. Tampa’s roster is loaded, but it would still be pretty impressive for a new coach to come in and lead the team to championship contention.

T-6. Sean McVay, Rams (+2000)

Another team with high expectations. The Rams are the defending champions and should be in the mix again. Los Angeles would need to win the NFC West and finish with 13-plus wins for McVay to capture Coach of the Year. It doesn’t seem like the best bet.

T-6. Nick Sirianni, Eagles (+2000)

This one feels like a much better setup for a possible Coach of the Year run. The Eagles have stockpiled talent this offseason, and if quarterback Jalen Hurts takes a step forward, Philadelphia could be a surprising contender in the NFC. The Eagles would likely need to win the NFC East for it to come to fruition, but their odds to do so are up to +165, right behind the Cowboys.

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T-6. Kevin O’Connell, Vikings (+2000)

The Vikings had an interesting offseason, delaying a rebuild while sticking with the status quo of a middling team. Minnesota still does have talent, and is the only viable contender to win the NFC North after the Packers. If the Vikings can find a way to surpass Green Bay for the divisional crown, O’Connell will get some love.

T-6. Kyle Shanahan, 49ers (+2000)

Another intriguing one here. The San Francisco 49ers made the NFC Championship Game a season ago, but there is some doubt surrounding second-year quarterback Trey Lance heading into 2022. If Lance plays well and the 49ers win the NFC West, Shanahan will earn plaudits, making this a solid value bet for Coach of the Year.

T-6. Doug Pederson, Jaguars (+2000)

The Jaguars were derided for overpaying players this offseason, and while that is certainly true, they do have a more talented football team heading into 2022. There are a couple other factors working in Pederson’s favor. Talented quarterback Trevor Lawrence may be able to take a big step forward in his second season, while any improvement with Pederson at the helm will contrast with the disastrous showing by Urban Meyer last season. The Jags will likely need to make the playoffs for Pederson to have a shot, but it’s not impossible given they play in a weak division.

T-6. Kevin Stefanski, Browns (+2000)

The preseason expectations are high for Cleveland, but it’s uncertain if star quarterback Deshaun Watson will be facing a suspension after 22 women accused him of sexual misconduct. Even if a possible suspension would be of his own quarterback’s doing, Stefanski would likely get credit for keeping the team afloat shall Cleveland succeed if/when Watson is out. 

T-6. Frank Reich, Colts (+2000)

The Colts are already the favorites in the AFC South, so simply winning the division likely wouldn’t be enough. But Indy may be able to get fat on its schedule and finish with the best record in the AFC. Titans coach Mike Vrabel followed that formula to Coach of the Year last season.

T-6. Dan Campbell, Lions (+2000)

Campbell is in a similar position as Pederson, aiming to help his team take a noticeable step forward. The difference is that the Jaguars have a quarterback with star qualities, while the Lions have a journeyman in Jared Goff. It feels like there is more upside with the Jacksonville pick.

T-6. Brian Daboll, Giants (+2000)

Daboll certainly did some creative things as offensive coordinator of the Bills, and there are a few intriguing pieces in New York. However, there is a big difference between having Josh Allen and Daniel Jones at quarterback. This feels like a rebuilding year for the Giants, and it would be a surprise to see Daboll in the running.

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T- 18. Andy Reid, Chiefs (+2200)

It’s a slight surprise that Reid is this low on the list. The Chiefs are among the Super Bowl favorites again this year, but there are certainly more questions following the departure of star receiver Tyreek Hill and a gauntlet of a schedule coming up. The bar is high, as always, in Kansas City, but if the Chiefs can navigate a killer division and finish with the best record in the AFC, Coach of the Year honors could go to Reid. This seems like good value.

T-18. Mike Vrabel, Titans (+2200)

The reigning Coach of the Year would really have to work some magic to repeat. The Titans still have decent expectations but they lost a significant amount of talent from their offense this offseason, most notably through the trade of wideout A.J. Brown. If Tennessee can duplicate last season’s win-loss record, Vrabel will be on the short list again, but it’s hard to see that happening.

T-18. Matt LaFleur, Packers (+2200)

This is another one that seems a bit low. The Packers lost wide receiver Davante Adams this offseason, and the lack of pass-catching options for quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a big storyline. Green Bay plays in a putrid division and could rack up the wins there. LaFleur would need most of the other teams to go chalk, because a Cinderella playoff team would likely usurp him, but if the Packers finish as the No. 1 seed in the NFC, he could win Coach of the Year.

T-18. Kliff Kingsbury, Cardinals (+2200)

Kingsbury was the Coach of the Year favorite early on last season, but the Cardinals finished 1-4 after a 10-2 start. This could be a tough one for Kingsbury to win. The oddsmakers believe the Cardinals will be an average team in 2022, but the public expectations are still high. The Cardinals would likely need to win the NFC West and finish as one of the conference’s top seeds for Kingsbury to have a shot. One thing that helps: Quarterback Kyler Murray is capable of playing at an MVP level, and Kingsbury could ride that wave if it happens in 2022.

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T-22. Ron Rivera, Commanders (+2500)

Rivera’s odds are rightfully lengthy. Washington likely wouldn’t move the needle enough by claiming a wild card, so an NFC East title and more would need to happen for Rivera to be a candidate. Can Carson Wentz and a so-so roster get him there? Probably not.

T-22. John Harbaugh, Ravens (+2500)

Baltimore had horrible injury luck last season, but the expectations are high once again this year. The Ravens have been so good for so long that it would take a truly special season for Harbaugh to be on the radar. It won’t be easy for the Ravens to finish with the best record in the AFC because the division also features the Bengals and the Browns.

T-24. Robert Saleh, Jets (+2800)

There seems to be some outside buzz about the Jets, but the oddsmakers aren’t buying it. The team is improved, but quarterback Zach Wilson looked lost last season and will need to step it up in a big way to make this team competitive. A wild card berth could put Saleh in the mix for Coach of the Year, but winning that many games is a longshot at best.

T-24. Mike McCarthy, Cowboys (+2800)

It’s easy to understand why McCarthy is this low. Dallas is the favorite to win the NFC East, and even if it finishes with the NFC’s best record, voters will point to all the talent on the roster. And then there is the overall feeling that McCarthy just isn’t that good of a coach. The Cowboys would need to do something truly special this year for McCarthy to win Coach of the Year. There are many better wagers out there.

T-26. Mike Tomlin, Steelers (+3000)

Tomlin is a fantastic coach and he has a good defense returning. If the Steelers can somehow win games with either Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett under center, Tomlin will be hailed as a genius, and deservedly so. But with six games against divisional foes Baltimore, Cincinnati and Cleveland, it’s a major uphill battle.

T-26. Dennis Allen, Saints (+3000)

This feels like a much more intriguing longshot gamble. The Saints have a great defense and play in a division that features the woeful Panthers and Falcons. The Bucs are the heavy favorites to capture the NFC South, but if New Orleans can somehow squeak it out, Allen will get some buzz. The Saints are still in win-now mode after signing safety Tyrann Mathieu and wide receiver Jarvis Landry late in free agency, so it’s not out of the question.

T-28. Matt Rhule, Panthers (+4000)

Rhule was a coaching darling early in his tenure with Carolina, but things have changed quickly. The Panthers have a decent roster but no quarterback. It’s much more likely Rhule loses his job than wins Coach of the Year.

T-28. Matt Eberflus, Bears (+4000)

Eberflus may end up being a good coach, but the win-loss record likely won’t show it this season. The Bears seem content to rebuild in 2022 and could finish among the worst teams in the NFL.

T-29. Arthur Smith, Falcons (+5000)

The Falcons have precious little talent on the roster and journeyman Marcus Mariota at quarterback. If Atlanta grabs a wild card Smith would get major accolades, but it seems like getting to that many wins is a colossal stretch.

T-29. Pete Carroll, Seahawks (+5000)

Carroll seems to be relishing a chance to rebuild after the Russell Wilson trade. He is confident, as always, but the oddsmakers don’t share the same enthusiasm. Seattle has a terrible quarterback situation and should be among the worst teams in the NFL. Even if the Seahawks surpass expectations, six games against the Rams, 49ers and Cardinals will make it tough to make the playoffs.

T-29. Lovie Smith, Texans (+5000)

If the Texans exceed expectations, it will mean winning around six or seven games. That would be a nice first step in a rebuild, but it also wouldn’t do enough to move the meter in NFL Coach of the Year voting.

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