Hot seat roundup: Is Falcons' Mike Smith on way out?

The Atlanta Falconscould have won the NFC South on Sunday with a victory at home against the Carolina Panthers, but Mike Smith remained on the coaching hot seat regardless.

Ian Rapoport reported on NFL Network's NFL GameDay First on Sunday that members of the Falcons' coaching staff believe that even winning the division with a 7-9 record wouldn't necessarily save Smith's job. Now he and Atlanta finish the year at 6-10 with no January football to be played.

"First of all, they have not been told their fate as of yet," Rapoport said Sunday morning, before the Falcons' embarrassing 34-3 defeat. "But they believe that if the Falcons lose tonight, that there will be some big changes, included the firing of head coach Mike Smith."

Atlanta has retained a search firm in the event they fire their coach and/or general manager Thomas Dimitroff, Rapoport reported, per a source close to the situation. No decisions have been made, though.

Smith finished his seventh year as Falcons coach with a 66-46 record but was just 10-22 in the last two seasons.

However, the offseason "toughness" mantra didn't take hold. Narrowly losing a division with a sub-.500 record isn't something owner Arthur Blank appears ready to hand out extensions for.

The Falcons have played better the last few weeks to put themselves in a position to make the playoffs. But they couldn't score another win to reinforce the effort to save their coaching staff's jobs.

Other coaches sitting on the NFL hot seat:

  1. Marc Trestman and the rest of the Chicago Bears' coaching staff haven't been told definitively whether or not they will return next year. Assistant coaches, however, believe they will be fired after Sunday, per Rapoport.

Cutting loose the staff could also include moving on from GM Phil Emery in a full house-cleaning move.

  1. The Jets are expected to cut ties with both coach Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik.
  1. Giants coach Tom Coughlin hasn't been told his status, but the team isn't looking to make a change, per Rapoport. The two-time Super Bowl winner wants to coach again next year, and he should get the chance, thanks to some budding young players.
  1. Jim Harbaugh coached his final game for the 49ers on Sunday, as both sides mutually parted ways after the game. University of Michigan officials believe he will become their next coach, per Rapoport. The Raiders remain in the mix and haven't been told they are out of the race.
  1. Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano will be in the mix for the head coaching vacancy in Oakland, according to Rapoport. General manager Reggie McKenzie will also be a part of the team's coaching search.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews the biggest matchups in Week 17 and makes its picks for the last week of the season. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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