The journey is over for Nathaniel Hackett after just 15 games in Broncos Country.
The Denver Broncos fired their first-year head coach on Monday after a 51-14 blowout on Christmas Day at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams. It marks the end of a disastrous first season in Denver for quarterback Russell Wilson. The Broncos had a 4-11 record under Hackett.
The Broncos traded a package of three players and five draft picks to acquire the former Pro Bowler from the Seattle Seahawks in the spring, then gave Wilson a lucrative contract extension before the season started in the belief it would fix the issues long term of the Denver quarterback. . Instead, Wilson regressed to one of the league’s worst signal callers and drew criticism for his off-field quirks as well as his open disdain for former teammates.
Hackett was hired by the Broncos after a successful stint as offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. In Green Bay, Hackett was credited with helping Aaron Rodgers to back-to-back MVP seasons. But as Denver’s head coach, he drew heavy criticism for game-management and call decisions, such as his decision to attempt a 64-yard field goal in the final seconds of Denver’s 17- 16 in Week 1 vs. Seattle.
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Wilson’s extension means the Broncos are likely tied to him for at least one more year, as they would be on the hook for $107 million in dead salary cap space if they tried to release him before the 2023 season. The new group of Broncos ownership along with president of football operations John Elway and general manager George Paton have a herculean task ahead of them. They need to find a new coach who can revitalize Wilson’s career and help him regain some of the playmaking ability he showed in Seattle.
Who could the Broncos turn to? FOX Bet has hypothetical odds on who could be the next head coach in Denver.
ODDS ON NEXT BRONCOS HEAD COACH*
- Frank Reich: +400 (bet $10 to win $50 total)
- Dan Quinn: +500 (bet $10 to win $60 total)
- Sean Payton: +600 (bet $10 to win $70 total)
- Shane Steichen: +700 (bet $10 to win $80 total)
- DeMeco Ryans: +800 (bet $10 to win $90 total)
- Evero is used: +1000 (bet $10 to win $110 total)
- Eric Bienemy: +1000 (bet $10 to win $110 total)
- David Shaw: +1200 (bet $10 to win $130 total)
- Jonathan Gannon: +1200 (bet $10 to win $130 total)
- Jim Harbaugh: +1500 (bet $10 to win $160 in total)
- Leslie Frazier: +1500 (bet $10 to win $160 in total)
- Steve Wilkes: +2000 (bet $10 to win $210 total)
*Proportions from 27/12/2022
Reich, the former Indianapolis Colts head coach, seems like a solid fit on paper. He has a long history of getting the most out of veteran quarterbacks. When he was the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive coordinator during the 2017 season, Carson Wentz had the best year of his career and backup Nick Foles led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl championship.
Reich then helped Andrew Luck get back to form in Indianapolis before Luck’s shocking retirement in 2019. With Philip Rivers under center in 2020, Reich helped lead the Colts back to the playoffs. But a reunion with Wentz in 2021 and an attempted partnership with Matt Ryan in 2022 fell through, and Reich was fired midseason.
Quinn could also be an intriguing fit. The former Atlanta Falcons head coach and current Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator won a Super Bowl with Wilson in Seattle as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator. Reports have surfaced that Quinn could bring Brian Schottenheimer, Wilson’s former offensive coordinator in Seattle, with him to Denver.
Aside from former New Orleans Saints head coach and current FOX NFL analyst Sean Payton, the rest of the top names on the list include some of the most successful NFL coordinators heading into the 2022 season.
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The SPEAK hosts weigh in on whether Denver made the right decision, including what’s next for Broncos Country.
Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon have their fingerprints on the Eagles’ league-best 13-2 record. The San Francisco 49ers have the best defense in the NFL by several metrics under coordinator DeMeco Ryans.
The Broncos have also performed well on the defensive side of the ball in 2022 under coordinator Ejiro Evero. But Evero reportedly turned down the interim head coaching job following Hackett’s firing, prompting speculation that he may try to pursue opportunities elsewhere.
Eric Bienemy is enjoying another strong year with Patrick Mahomes. However, it’s worth wondering if the longtime Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator would stop working with Mahomes in the prime of his career to try to rehabilitate Wilson.
Who do you think gets the Broncos head coaching job? Stay tuned to FOX Sports as the story unfolds!
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