The Denver Broncos are finalizing a deal to appoint Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett as their head coach, a person with knowledge of the talks told the Associated Press Thursday.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal was still in the works and the team had not made any announcements.
Hiring Hackett would fuel speculation that the Broncos were trying to lure star Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers to Denver, perhaps alongside their star receiver Davante Adams, who is set to hit free agency in March.
Rodgers, who turned 38 last month in his fourth MVP season, is contemplating his future, including retirement, after an early exit from the Packers’ playoffs last weekend. Top seed Green Bay was upset 13-10 by the San Francisco 49ers at home.
Hackett, 42, emerged as a frontrunner on his own merits, however, which includes his work as Jacksonville’s offensive coordinator from 2016–18 with quarterback Blake Bortles, before he moved to Green Bay and Matt LaFleur. won a record 39 games. First three seasons as head coach.
Hackett, who is the son of former college and NFL coach Paul Hackett, will inherit a young, talented roster in Denver, where he flew in for a second interview on Monday. He was the only finalist to receive a second in-person interview in Denver.
General Manager George Patton interviewed 10 candidates to replace Vic Fangio, whom he fired after a disappointing 7–10 season, Denver’s sixth consecutive playoff berth without.
After traversing the country with a team of evaluators, Patton narrowed that list down to three finalists: Hackett, Cowboys defensive coordinator and former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, and Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell.
Hackett will be the first Broncos head coach with aggressive roots since Gary Kubiak, who stepped down a year after leading the Broncos to their third Super Bowl title after the 2016 season. Vance Joseph was 11-21 in two seasons and Fangio 19-30 in three.
Despite finishing last in the competitive AFC West, the Broncos are seen as an emerging team if they find the right head coach and a quarterback capable of capitalizing on a talented young offense that includes receivers Jerry Judy, Cortlandt Sutton. , Tim Patrick and. KJ Hamler, Noah Fant and Albert taunt Okwegbunam and bulldozes Jawonte Williams back.
Some of those playmates will undoubtedly pack in any deal for a veteran quarterback if the Broncos decide not to pick a QB in the draft, where the options aren’t as tempting as ever.
Fangio’s notable stint was dotted by poor quarterback play, non-constructive offenses that struggled to score 20 points in a game under Pat Shurmur, and sloppy special teams playing under Tom McMahon, all of which created a strong defense. which was Fangio’s calling card.
The Broncos have 10 starting quarterbacks and no playoff appearances since Peyton Manning’s retirement six years ago, and are in the market for an upgrade from the frequently injured Teddy Bridgewater (7-7), who became a free agent in March. ready for , and Drew Locke (0-3) this season.
They are also looking for a new owner. The team’s outgoing chairman and CEO Joe Ellis said he would release details about the future of the franchise once a new head coach is in place, which is expected to be the most expensive team sale in American sports history.
The Broncos are valued at around $4 billion and if so sold it would surpass the record $3.35 billion that Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai paid for the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center in 2019.
John Elway, who is in his final months as the team’s president of football operations, and Manning, who has lived in Denver since his retirement, are expected to join the bid as the billionaire’s minority partners gain NFL approval. To compete. prestigious franchise.
The Broncos won two Super Bowl titles under center with Elway in the late 1990s and then in 2016 with Elway in the front office and Manning as quarterback in the final game of his Hall of Fame career.
The only holdover kicker in his last championship parade is Brandon McManus. Patton traded Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller for a pair of second-day draft picks last fall, and Miller shone in his return in the postseason. The Rams hosted the 49ers in the NFC Championship on Sunday.
The second- and third-round draft options the Broncos received in exchange for Miller in April give Patton 11 draft picks, including five from the top 100, that he can either use to beef up his roster or The quarterback can use a package to gain gains such as Rodgers or Russell Wilson of the Seahawks.
Also interviewed for the Broncos head coaching vacancy were offensive coordinators Kellen Moore of the Cowboys, Brian Callahan of the Bengals and Eric Bienemi of the Chiefs and defensive coordinators Aaron Glenn of the Lions and Jonathan Gannon of the Eagles, with the Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerrod. Mayo and Packers QB coach Luke Getty.
Getty may take an interest in Hackett as his offensive coordinator in Denver.