Even after suing the NFL, Brian Flores remains a candidate in New Orleans and Houston. Will either franchise jump for the flashy hire?
In the wake of a lawsuit from former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores accusing multiple NFL franchises of stacking the deck against him based on race, can he land another job this offseason?
Flores’ bombshell lawsuit has rocked a professional sports league with just one African American head coach. It has also raised significant questions about the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule, as well as comments from senior NFL executives that there is a double standard for Black coaches as it relates to maintaining employment.
No matter what you think of the lawsuit, it’s not difficult to see the filling have a profound effect on Flores’ potential hiring in Houston and New Orleans, where he remains a finalist.
The Texans and Saints could take a stand in support of exactly what Flores is fighting for, or pass on Flores and avoid the controversy entirely. While the latter is more likely, here are the issues worth examining:
3. How would hiring Flores affect the quarterback situation?
One of the major trade rumors during the 2021 season involved a deal between the Dolphins and Texans for Deshaun Watson, who rode the bench all year amid numerous claims of sexual misconduct.
Watson has demanded a trade, and after Flores’ firing in January it was reported by NFL Insider Jordan Schultz that the two had been in communication about teaming up. Hiring Flores could be the key to Watson seeing the field again in Houston, and the Texans’ odds in the AFC South improving overnight.
Similarly, after Brian Flores’ clashes with the Miami front office over the inconsistent play of Tua Tagovailoa, one would have to think that a potential Flores reign in New Orleans would result in the aggressive pursuit of a proven quarterback via trade or free agency.
2. A proven winner away from the playoffs?
While Brian Flores’ overall record is 24-25, his Miami Dolphins posted win totals of 10 and 9 wins in his final two seasons. Those campaigns came in a tough division with Buffalo and New England, with Flores pulling off two victories over his mentor Bill Belicheck in the 2021 season.
And after a decade of coaching under Belicheck, it’s fair to say that Flores at least somewhat knows what it takes to win in the NFL.
Which begs the question: what could Flores do in a mediocre AFC South or Tom Brady-less NFC South? The AFC South includes the bottom-of-the-barrel Jaguars, rebuilding Texans, and a Colts team that couldn’t win in Jacksonville with their season on the line.
And the NFC South’s only playoff team from 2021, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will likely see a regression following the retirement of Tom Brady – barring a major trade for Aaron Rodgers.
Particularly with a more talented Saints roster, Flores has the potential to oversee a quick rebuild with an organization blessed by a low barrier to division success.
1. Is the potential distraction worth it?
Notwithstanding Tampa Bay’s pursuit of Antonio Brown, NFL franchises tend to be skeptical of roster or coaching moves that stimulate a wave of non-football chatter.
Colin Kaepernick is a perfect example of this. After kicking off a racial justice conversation by kneeling during the national anthem, the quarterback who appeared in Super Bowl XLVII was released by the 49ers the following offseason.
He subsequently went unsigned in free agency on his way to filling a complaint against the NFL for collusion to keep him out of the league.
For good or bad, discussion of Brian Flores’ lawsuit would dominate the beginning of a prospective tenure in New Orleans, Houston, or any other team. Now, it’s up to management in both franchises to decide if the distraction would be worth it.