1. Ben Johnson, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator
The most sought-after head coach candidate this offseason is undoubtedly going to be Ben Johnson. Johnson has helped turn the Detroit Lions offense around and was viewed by many to be a head coach candidate last offseason. However, Johnson wanted to finish what he started and the results this season have been exceptional.
Johnson's stock will be even higher than it was last offseason as the Lions are well on their way to winning the NFC North and could conceivably be one of the final four teams standing in the NFL Playoffs. Johnson's ability to get the most out of Jared Goff and unlock this offense is the driving force.
On paper, the Chargers would have a serious advantage over any other team looking for a new head coach. Coaching Justin Herbert and the Chargers seems a lot better than coaching the Las Vegas Raiders, Washington Commanders, Chicago Bears, or whatever other teams end up firing their head coach.
But the question becomes if the Chargers believe in Johnson and if they will be willing to pay him. While Johnson won't cost as much as Harbaugh, the Bolts are going to have to be competitive with his salary offer to beat out the other competing teams.
Brandon Staley reportedly makes $4 million a season, which is among the lowest head coach salaries in the NFL. The Chargers are going to have to be more enticing with Johnson's offer, although he won't cost in the $10-15 million range that Harbaugh would likely cost.