Updated 12/19/14, 12:50pm CST
The Chicago Bears dropped to 5-9 on the year following another disappointing loss to the New Orleans Saints, and now it seems likely that head coach Marc Trestman won't return next season.
Chicago was expected to make the playoffs this season, and now with the Bears headed towards one of their worst seasons in recent memory, it seems very likely they'll have a new coach roaming the sidelines next season.
Who are the top candidates to replace Trestman?
Roman was the offensive coordinator at Stanford before coming to San Francisco, and he's been nothing but successful in the NFL. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said that Roman "reminds him of Chip Kelly". If he can live up to half of what Kelly has done with the Eagles, he'll turn the Bears around in no time.
9) Darrell Bevell, Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator
The Chicago Bears offense, and in particular QB Jay Cutler, need a jump start from an offensive philosophy standpoint. Bevell has turned down the chance at NFL head coaching jobs before to stay in the Pacific Northwest, but he could very well make the jump this offseason if the right opportunity presents itself. The Bears have been a messy operation at times, but the right directive and influx of energy could have this playoff-bound next season - something Bevell could very well provide.
Sticking with Seahawks assistants, Quinn will also bring a winners mentality from Seattle, something this team needs to get them over the top. His defensive background would undoubtedly bring back defensive-minded Bears team and drastically improve a unit is one of the worst in the league. Chicago has bigger names they will pursue, but Quinn provides a very good backup option.
7) Tony Dungy, former Bucs/Colts head coach
If the Bears front office can coax Tony Dungy out of retirement, they'll be rewarded with a Super Bowl-winning head coach who is 139-69 over 13 regular seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts. Dungy has been off the sidelines since 2008, but the chance to bring a Super Bowl to the franchise that he got his ring against with the Colts could very well be intriguing to the current NFL analyst.
A report came out earlier this week that Shanahan wants to coach at either Michigan or Florida, but it would be hard for him to turn down a chance to lead an NFL team. He's only two years removed from leading the Washington Redskins to the playoffs, but he'll want to have some front office role as well. If the Bears are willing to give him that, Shanahan is a proven commodity that would command attention from everyone in the locker room.
Cowher hasn't coached in the league since 2006, but has stayed in the game as an analyst for CBS. He's won a Super Bowl and had sustained success in a cold-weather city (Pittsburgh). Cowher has said he would come back to coaching if the right situation presented itself, and the Bears have playoff talent.
Many expect Sumlin to make the jump from college to the NFL at some point, and Chicago presents the perfect opportunity for him. Sumlin's high-powered offense would maximize the immense offensive talent they have on their roster. Coaches around the league have already been stealing his play designs and tendencies, and his system could have similar NFL success to Chip Kelly's.
Hamilton followed Andrew Luck from Stanford to Indianapolis, and he's led outstanding offenses at each stop. He's going to be a hot candidate for every opening across the league, but Chicago has offensive weapons he hasn't had before. This would be the best fit for him - if he decides to leave Andrew Luck's side.
Gase is only in his second season as the offensive coordinator in Denver, but he's already guided the best offense in league history. He's proven he can handle star players and their egos. Gase will be the most sought-after candidate this offseason after 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, and Chicago might be the best job available.
Speaking of Harbaugh, all he's done is make the NFC Championship Game in each of his first three seasons in the league. Even with the 49ers' 7-7 record this season, he's widely considered to be one of the top-5 coaches in the league today.
Rumors have been swirling that he won't return to San Francisco next year and he's worn thin on the players and front office, which would put him at the top of every list in the football world. Harbaugh's rumored to be interested in coaching Michigan, but he loves the Chicago Bears as much as he loves the Wolverines. With the recent indications that Harbaugh could be willing to be part of a sign-and-trade, now's the Bears' chance to pounce.
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