The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have begun gathering information on potential head coaches and are making contingencies for a coaching search, with Dirk Koetter unlikely to be back next season, league sources said. Tampa can finish no higher than .500 and has several big-picture decisions to make this offseason, including what to do with quarterback Jameis Winston, who is entering his fifth-year option in 2019, which is currently only guaranteed for injury.
Koetter and his offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, will be coveted by other head coaches looking for offensive coordinators in 2019, league sources said. That includes head coaching candidates and head coaches already in place; both will be ready to vie for Koetter and Monken’s services in 2019. Tampa’s offense has oscillated between Winston and aging-veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick several times this season, due to suspension and performance, yet remains one of the NFL‘s most productive. The defense, however, has been awful, with another coordinator fired on that side of the ball, and Winston’s future remains murky as well, considerable factors for ownership weight in deciding whether to move forward with this regime.
Koetter was nearly let go after last season, with ownership investigating Jon Gruden’s interest before he opted to go to Oakland, and his job security has been in question throughout the second half of the season after a fast start in September. Koetter originally arrived as coach on Lovie Smith’s staff, and rose to head coach based primarily on his original work with Winston, who was selected first overall in 2015.
Koetter has been a well-respected NFL coordinator for over a decade now, and will have his pick of several jobs if he is let go as expected in Tampa. Monken has earned rave reviews for his work with Tampa’s offense in 2018, taking over play calling, and is atop the wish list of several potential head coaches who are trying to pencil in potential staffs ahead of their interviews with owners next month. Monken has been in Tampa since 2016 and has head coaching experience at Southern Miss.
Neither will be out of work long.