Matt LaFleur has options, but he must get the Joe Barry replacement right. The Green Bay Packers can't afford to swing and miss on another defensive coordinator.
Things are getting interesting in the NFL hiring cycle. Only two teams—the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Commanders—still have head-coaching vacancies.
Several top candidates remain available, including Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Ben Johnson, Dan Quinn, and Mike Macdonald. However, many will not land a head coach job.
Another name is Mike Vrabel, formerly the head coach of the Tennessee Titans. If he doesn't land another head coach job, many Packers fans have wondered whether he could reunite with LaFleur as Green Bay's next defensive coordinator. LaFleur was Vrabel's offensive coordinator for a year in Tennessee.
However, that possibility has been slammed shut.
Packers insider shuts down possibility of Mike Vrabel to Green Bay
The Athletic's Matt Schneidman discussed the Packers' options on 97.3 The Game. Schneidman made it clear that Vrabel won't be coming to Green Bay.
"Mike Vrabel is not going to be the defensive coordinator here. I can tell you that as a statement of fact, even if he doesn't get a head coaching job," said Schneidman. "Even if Mike Vrabel is willing to be a defensive coordinator after he doesn't get a head coaching job, hypothetically, it ain't gonna be in Green Bay."
Well, that settles it. We can take Vrabel's name off the list when considering potential Joe Barry replacements.
Vrabel would have been an excellent hire, but an argument can be made that it would be an odd set-up with LaFleur. The roles would be reversed from their time together in Tennessee. Vrabel is a great leader, which is perfect for the role of head coach.
That said, he could've made a significant impact on the Packers' defense. The days of this group being called "soft," as we often heard during Barry's tenure, would be long gone.
However, the chances of Vrabel coming to Green Bay appear to be zero.