This news comes as a surprise. Johnson was considered to be a hot candidate last year but he did not land a job. It seemed like a foregone conclusion, then, that he would be primed to move on after 2023. But that’s not the case.
Johnson has obviously overseen success as an OC. He’s no small part of why the Lions were able to win their first playoff game since the 1991 season. With that in mind, the idea of him joining the Commanders was not an exciting one for the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s possible Johnson doesn’t have great head coaching chops; we regularly see great coordinators fail at the next level. But his upside combined with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and a lot of cap space to work with? That could have offered Washington hope for the future.
Instead, Johnson seemingly turned them down ... because he doesn’t think the Commanders give him the best chance of winning big?
Ben Johnson informed the Commanders and Seahawks today. The reason, I’m told: He wants to win a Super Bowl. https://t.co/DftoKs5iQQ— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) January 30, 2024
Or, if you listen to the spin potentially coming from new Commanders owner Josh Harris/his camp, it’s because Johnson actually isn’t that great and he wants a lot of money.
Ben Johnson was not the head-coaching lock that people thought and his asking price spooked some teams, per sources. https://t.co/cFl2FPBtcY— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 30, 2024
Fans should not give a shit about a coach’s “asking price.” There is no mandated salary cap restriction for coaching staffs. Any billionaire owner serious about winning will pay whatever it takes to get the right guy. Of course, the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers has a history of 1) selling NBA second-round picks to pocket the money and 2) avoiding a luxury tax bill.
Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see who the Commanders end up with since the Eagles will be facing that candidate twice per season moving forward. Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn still seems to be in the mix there. If that’s the case, there’s been talk that Ron Rivera could end up in Dallas.
We’ll see. For now, we know that Johnson isn’t coming to the NFC East in 2024. There could be some head coach openings in this division next year, however.