The Denver Broncos have yet to announce who will be the team’s next head coach and it is starting to become a bit concerning.
Broncos Country is going to be behind whoever gets that nod and fans are going to talk up the hire like it was a great move, just as they did last year with Nathaniel Hackett. But at this point, most of the “good moves” seem to be off the table.
The first domino fell on Thursday when the Carolina Panthers decided to hire Frank Reich to become their next head coach. In addition to that, it was reported that Dan Quinn has withdrawn his name from consideration to all teams looking for a new head coach as he has decided that he will remain in his current role as defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys.
The Broncos seem to be out on the Sean Payton sweepstakes and Jim Harbaugh is said to be staying at the University of Michigan. So where does that leave the Broncos?
If you look at the list of candidates that were interviewed for the job, here is what you have left.
Sean Payton (could probably be removed at this point)
Aside from Payton, do any of those names evoke excitement? Scouring social media and listening to local radio, the favorite now seems to be DeMeco Ryans, who is still in the playoffs as the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers. But there could be something concerning if you’re a fan of that move as well because the Houston Texans still have an opening and would likely love to have Ryans.
Immediately, many fans are going to wonder why would Ryans choose Houston over Denver? But that answer is simple. The Texans made Ryans a second-round draft pick in 2006 and he was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year there that season. He spent six more years with the team and still has great ties to the franchise and the city.
If the Broncos were to be holding out for Ryans, only for him to choose Houston instead, then what?
Now it’s very possible that the Broncos feel comfortable with Ryans as their next head coach and are simply waiting for the process to play out as his team is still competing for the Super Bowl. But if not, one name from earlier needs to be brought back up and perhaps it should anyway.
Harbaugh is still the best candidate for this job. Though it was said that he will be staying at Michigan, that is not set in stone. Things can change and the Broncos should be exhausting all efforts to make the move to change his mind.
Jim Harbaugh should still be on the Broncos’ list
It would be a risky move for Harbaugh, who has pledged his commitment to the football program and players at Michigan. A swerve like this one would make him public enemy No. 1 in Ann Arbor, but that’s a role that Harbaugh also likely doesn’t mind playing.
Greg Penner has an unlimited checkbook. He can match any number Harbaugh was looking to make. This list shows the top 10 highest-paid coaches in the league this past season. Bill Belichick sits at the top of the list at $20 million per year.
Penner could offer Harbaugh something even bigger. Maybe $25 million a year, maybe even more. Maybe this is all just crazy talk. But maybe, just maybe, there’s another reason Harbaugh could be inclined to leave.
The Michigan football program is being investigated for some NCAA violations. Last Friday, the school announced the firing of co-offensive coordinator Matt Weiss for “computer crimes”.
So it is not all sunshine and roses for Harbaugh at Michigan, despite taking the team to the College Football Playoff in each of the last two years. That means, there could still be a chance that the Broncos could convince him to leave.
Again, this may all be seen as wild and hopeful thinking at this point but what can’t be disputed at this point is that this search for a new head coach has not gone the way most, including the front office, thought it would.