Five Candidates to Replace Joe Judge as Giants Head Coach

Las Vegas Raiders v Dallas Cowboys
Las Vegas Raiders v Dallas Cowboys / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

The New York Giants fired head coach Joe Judge on Tuesday in a move the franchise absolutely had to make. Now with Judge and general manager Dave Gettleman both gone, it's time to rebuild things. While the Giants plan to hire a new general manager before they make a move on a new coach, it's worth looking at who could be the next head guy for the franchise.

New York Giants head coaching candidates

Kellen Moore

This could be a shrewd move by the Giants, not only getting a young, up-and-coming head coach but also hurting a division rival. Moore is in his third season as offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys and is doing an incredible job. The Cowboys rank first in points per game (31.2), first in total yards per game (407.0), second in passing yards per game (282.4) and ninth in rushing yards per game (124.6). Dallas flat-out has the best offense in the NFL this season, and a lot of that credit must go to Moore.

Moore is only 33 but is a dynamic young coach who knows what he's doing already. He's going to be a head coach sooner or later, why not now with the Giants?

Brian Daboll

Daboll has been a popular candidate over the past two offseasons because of his work turning Josh Allen from an extremely raw talent into an MVP-caliber NFL quarterback. Last offseason, Joe Judge attempted to lure him away from his post as the Buffalo Bills' offensive coordinator to take the same position with the Giants, but the Bills denied the interview request.

Daboll has been around the block, holding offensive coordinator jobs with the Browns, Dolphins, Chiefs, Alabama and now the Bills. It's likely time for him to finally get his shot at a head job.

Jim Harbaugh

Harbaugh seems pretty motivated to leave Michigan for the NFL in this cycle and this could be a solid, high-profile spot for him build in. The 58-year-old had a wildly-successful four-year stint in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers, compiling a 44-19-1 record, winning the NFC West twice, reaching the NFC Championship Game in each of his first three seasons and reaching Super Bowl XLVII in his second year. He was fired after an 8-8 season in 2014 and went back to his alma mater, where he just finished his seventh, and most successful, season.

Harbaugh has proven he can win at the NFL level and the Giants have the kind of money that could entice him into such a move. His personality may wear on people over time, but at this point the Giants would likely bring on anyone who could win football games.

Patrick Graham

Graham is the Giants' current defensive coordinator and is well-regarded in the organization. The 42-year-old spent seven years as a defensive assistant with the Patriots, which is how he knew Judge. In 2020, Graham's first season, the Giants put a really good defense on the field despite a noticeable lack of high-end talent. The problem was the offense didn't help out at all. This year, the defense struggled as the offense collapsed any more. I'm not sure anyone could blame Graham for what transpired in 2021.

Many around the league believe Graham is a future NFL head coach. The Giants really like him and face the prospect of losing his services with Judge gone. While this is probably unlikely if New York wants to completely clean house, it is at least worth considering.

Byron Leftwich

Leftwich will be a popular name this offseason as he's led Tampa Bay's high-powered offense for the past three seasons. The 41-year-old also carries the credibility of having played quarterback for 10 seasons in the NFL. Most importantly, he's learned from Bruce Arians for three years and coached Tom Brady for two. He helped Tampa Bay's offense lead the team to a Super Bowl LV victory and could add another ring this year.

While the Jacksonville Jaguars will certainly be calling the man they once selected No. 7 overall in the 2003 NFL Draft, the Giants could be a really attractive spot. He'd be in a big city, with some big-time resources and if he turned the franchise around he'd be an absolute star in a major market.