The first domino in the NFL coaching carousel has fallen. The Denver Broncos have hired Nathaniel Hackett to be their next head coach, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
The #Broncos are finalizing a deal with #Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett to make him their new head coach, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 27, 2022
Contract talks heated up Wednesday night. The #Jaguars planned to interview Hackett again today. Instead, Denver lands its top choice.
By all reports, Hackett was a finalist for the head coaching position with the Jaguars and was scheduled to have his second interview with the team today (via Adam Schefter) but the Broncos stepped in and decided to make an offer before that could happen.
That leaves Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as the two remaining legitimate candidates to take the coaching job in Jacksonville.
We reported late Tuesday night that Leftwich was expected to become the next head coach, but there have been a few challenges in ironing out final details, which could include organizational authority, contract negotiations, or something else.
According to Chris Porter from First Coast News, the hang up is that Leftwich wants his own general manager and current general manager Trent Baalke (understandably) doesn’t want to get fired. If it’s truly a power struggle behind the scenes, Shad Khan has a decision to make — does he go with the best head coach available this cycle, or does he side with a general manager who helped construct the worst roster in the NFL? It’s a tough decision for the Jaguars front office.
Honestly, I still believe it’s Leftwich’s job to lose, but seeing the Jaguars lose any advantage they had from a new league rule that allowed them to get started two weeks early is... frustrating.