Pat Shurmur's fate has been sealed. Not long ago it was unthinkable that the Giants would go into 2020 with their fourth head coach in six seasons, but here we are.
Who will that be? That's a tough question. There's no obvious successor on Shurmur's staff, and really none from the recent staffs of Ben McAdoo or Tom Coughlin, either. The field of available candidates is generally the same as it was two years ago when they decided to hire Shurmur -- and that field wasn't considered great.
Given the need for "an adult in the room," as GM Dave Gettleman once called Shurmur, it seems unlikely they'd take a chance on a hot, young, unproven assistant. Head coaching experience mattered in the end last time, and it likely will be a preference again, since this franchise has no time for on-the-job training. NFL experience always matters to the Giants. And they'll need someone who has shown to have a thick skin to handle the New York heat -- something they really haven't had since Coughlin was pushed out.
That does narrow the potential field a bit. So here's a look at some of the candidates who could be on the Giants' list:
Matt Rhule, Baylor head coach
The 44-year-old head coach at Baylor is the early favorite to replace Shurmur, according to multiple team and league sources. The Giants owners "like him a lot," said one league source, and have been enamored of him since his one year as a Giants assistant back in 2012.
Just look at the job he's done. He took over a dead Temple program and turned the Owls into a 10-win, bowl-team in just three years. Then, he did the same for a Baylor team that is 11-2, and facing Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
He doesn't have a lot of NFL experience, but his one year came as the Giants' assistant offensive line coach under Tom Coughlin. And he left quite an impression.
Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys head coach
Garrett could get an interview if he's fired in Dallas, though he is not expected to be a top candidate.
How could the Giants sell a failed Cowboys coach as Shurmur's replacement, especially since Garrett underachieved with far more talented teams in Dallas? Good question. But the Giants do like and respect Garrett, who was a backup quarterback for them from 2000-03.
If he's fired by Jerry Jones, they'd surely take a look.
Josh McDaniels, New England Patriots offensive coordinator
He's like the NFL's white whale, and at this point, there's definitely a chance that he's never leaving New England.
The Giants interviewed him when they hired Shurmur, but McDaniels took the Indianapolis Colts job, only to famously back out. That's a big red flag, and it's hard to see the Giants interviewing him again unless they were somehow assured he would actually leave Bill Belichick's side. But Belichick still loves the Giants organization, and he might just be willing to nudge his top lieutenant down I-95 to help his old bosses out.
And McDaniels, one of the top offensive minds in the game and a former Denver Broncos head coach, would definitely help.
Mike McCarthy, former Green Bay Packers head coach
One of the finalists for the Jets' vacancy in January, the 56-year-old is the most accomplished coach on the market. He was 125-77-2 in 13 seasons with the Packers that included nine playoff berths and a Super Bowl championship.
The knock on him has always been that he should've won more with Aaron Rodgers, but he did have eight 10-win seasons and won 10 playoff games. Rodgers became Rodgers under McCarthy's stewardship.
So Daniel Jones would be in pretty good hands.
Dan Campbell, New Orleans Saints assistant head coach/tight ends coach
A well-respected former Giants tight end (1999-2002), he's become one of the top assistants to Sean Payton in New Orleans. So he's learning from one of the best. Lack of experience will hurt him, though, since his only head coaching stint was 12 games as the Dolphins' interim coach in 2015 (he went 5-7).
He'd need to bring a quarterback guru in to be his offensive coordinator, too.
Brian Daboll, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator
He's served under Belichick in New England and Nick Saban in Alabama, and that will get the Giants' attention. More importantly, the Bills are X-X under second-year quarterback Josh Allen with Daboll calling the plays.
The 44-year-old has never been a head coach, but his resume is impressive nonetheless. And the Bills, under head coach Sean McDermott, are considered one of the most well-coached teams in the league.
John DeFilippo, Jaguars offensive coordinator
The former Eagles offensive coordinator might have been one of the hottest assistant coaches last year, but a down year as Shurmur's replacement as the offensive coordinator in Minnesota took some of the luster off.
He's earned raves, though, for what he's done with quarterback Gardner Minshew in Jacksonville this year. A former Giants quality control coach (2005-06), he'd probably be great for Jones. But he has no head coaching experience, and that will be a tough sell.
Byron Leftwich, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator
An up-and-coming assistant, the 39-year-old former NFL quarterback would be a risky hire since this is only Leftwich's third year of coaching, and neither Jameis Winston nor Josh Rosen in Arizona last year really thrived under his direction.
But many people, including Bucs coach Bruce Arians, consider him an offensive whiz, which the Giants clearly could need.
David Shaw, Stanford head coach
The Giants have had some interest in him for years, but each time they've had an opening, the message coming from his people was the same: He's happy where he is and doesn't want to leave for the NFL.
Even his first bowl-less season in his nine years at Stanford can't diminish the NFL's love for him. If he ever did want to make the jump, plenty of teams -- including the Giants -- would be waiting.
Nick Saban, Alabama head coach
Go ahead and laugh, but the Giants checked in on him before they hired McAdoo in 2016. Also, when the Giants were on the verge of hiring Shurmur, Saban's friend, Arians, said Saban "covets" the Giants job.
He's 68 and he's basically a god in Alabama and he's likely not leaving after a disappointing season for the Tide. But there are always dots here that could be connected, even if it's just for fun.