Understandably, the NFL head-coaching rumor mill has gone into overdrive since the Denver Broncos pulled the plug on the chaotic tenure of Nathaniel Hackett.
Big hitters like Sean Payton and Jim Harbaugh have immediately rocketed to the top of Broncos Country’s wish list and have been linked to Denver by NFL insiders. However, some fans might be destined for disappointment if they believe Payton will be coaching in the Mile High City next season.
Simply meeting the New Orleans Saints‘ asking price to relinquish Payton’s coaching rights is implausible. Selling a reclamation mission on both Wilson and a massively listing franchise will require extensive courtship and a lucrative offer.
The national media has established the perception that the Broncos are a less attractive destination than the Arizona Cardinals, and that’s bound to irk fans. Wilson is not buying into the widely held narrative that the Broncos’ job isn’t attractive to the ranks of coveted coaches on the market.
“I think this is a special job,” Wilson said on Wednesday. “[It is] a special place, a special tradition, special players. I mean, world-class players.”
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A workable Plan B must be put in place by Broncos GM George Paton, who said on Tuesday that the team’s search would be extensive.
“We’ll consider—we hope to interview [Broncos defensive coordinator] Ejiro Evero for the position,” Paton said at Tuesday’s press conference. “I think I mentioned earlier that experience is helpful, especially based on where we are as a football team. But we’re not going to limit ourselves. There are so many other good candidates. We are just excited to speak with them all, and we look forward to the process.”
Jerry Rosburg’s tenure as interim head coach is probably fated to be short-term, even if he was to pull off an unlikely brace of divisional wins to close out the 2022 season. But that doesn’t mean Broncos CEO and part-owner Greg Penner and Paton will rule out Evero off the cuff.
Suppose the Broncos’ top decision-makers are interested in reading the pulse of the locker room or looking for a less expensive head-coaching solution. The Broncos might listen to what Pro Bowl safety Justin Simmons said about his coordinator in that case.
“He’s one of the best leaders I have been around,” Simmons said this week. “I think it speaks volumes to the testament—obviously, you can’t take away last week’s game, but minus that game—of the way that the defense has answered the bell. Obviously, there is tremendous talent, player-wise, on the defense, but I always think that speaks volumes to leadership and the way that your guys respond to some adversity. I felt like all the of the year, for the most part, guys have responded in a really positive manner. I think that’s because of ‘Coach E.’ Like I said, I think he’s one of the brightest minds I’ve been around and one of the best leaders. I think he would be at the top of the list for that.”
The truth is, Evero might have given the front office a heads-up that he already views his future elsewhere when he turned down first dibs at the interim head coach. Denver’s unrequited overtures to Evero may have taken him out of the running for the permanent job, but insiders believe the 41-year-old is still firmly in the running.
Writing the checks is a relatively minor issue for the uber-rich Walmart/Penner ownership group. Therefore, enticing a big name to Denver might be as easy as simply showing them the money.
Throwing a boatload of money at Payton or Harbaugh would rule out Evero for the top job and would increase the likelihood of another change looming at defensive coordinator next season.
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