3. Mike Macdonald, Ravens DC
Mike Macdonald might be the hottest commodity during this hiring cycle.
With the Ravens on a bye as the AFC's No. 1 seed, Macdonald has already interviewed with the Chargers, Falcons and Panthers. Hiring a defensive-minded head coach might not sit well with Cowboys fans, but Macdonald would be a home run hire.
The Ravens defense doesn't boast superstar talent at all three levels, but Macdonald's managed to get the most out of them. In his first year as defensive coordinator in 2022, Baltimore finished eighth in defensive DVOA despite a rash of injuries.
In 2023, the unit stayed (mostly) healthy and dominated. They led the league in points allowed per game, takeaways and sacks. The Ravens became the first team in NFL history to top every category in a single season. That includes their historic 2000s defense.
The Cowboys and Macdonald would have to nail the offensive coordinator hire, but no fans should turn their nose up at the Ravens defensive guru after Dan Quinn turned in a disasterclass for the ages against the Packers.