Broncos Fire Coach Nathaniel Hackett Before End Of First Season, Giving Team More Time To Shop For Replacement (Like Sean Payton)

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Nathaniel Hackett was on the outs as the Denver Broncos head coach for multiple reasons but Sunday’s 51-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams was the clincher.

The Broncos on Monday officially fired the first-year coach.

OutKick sources said Sunday evening this was the likely outcome and one even suggested a Monday or Tuesday firing as has happened because it gives the Broncos more time to shop for a replacement.

Hackett finishes his one and only season with the Broncos with a 4-11 record. Considered an offense-minded coach who was part of the reason the Green Bay Packers fared so well on offense in recent years when he was an assistant, Hackett’s work in Denver has disappointed.

The Broncos have the No. 32 scoring offense.

Hackett signed a four-year deal with the Broncos in January and will be paid the entire contract if he doesn’t land another job. If he returns to the NFL in another capacity, he’ll get paid for that work from his new employer and the Broncos will make up the difference to pay his head coach salary.

The question for the organization remains what other changes are coming after the season.

It’s clear general manager George Paton will be evaluated. He traded multiple first-round picks for quarterback Russell Wilson and then signed him to a $242.5 million contract.

Nathaniel Hackett was fired on Monday. (Getty Images)

Wilson has responded with his worst season in the NFL.

Wilson obviously is also not secure. The team may decide to go another direction but that would entail painful salary cap implications.

The immediate question becomes who replaces Hackett next season.

The Broncos are obviously starting their search immediately and one logical place for that is with an experienced former coach, such as former Saints coach Sean Payton.

Payton is eager to return to the NFL, as OutKick reported over the weekend. Landing him would require a huge salary and, coincidently, the Denver ownership group is more than capable of meeting those demands if they wish.

That group of six people includes three billionaires, including Rob Walton, who Forbes estimates is worth $65 billion.

The Broncos and Payton make sense in that it would unite a Super Bowl winning coach with a Super Bowl winning quarterback who needs to revive his game.

Payton is considered an offensive mastermind who helped Drew Brees and the Saints consistently lead the NFL in multiple offensive categories.

The Broncos may also look at former Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich as a coach capable helping to maximize a quarterback.

The Broncos will nonetheless conduct a full search that will include multiple candidates and they will abide by the NFL’s Rooney Rule, a source told OutKick.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero


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  1. If Payton is to come in, he would not be able to bring Fangio. No way he comes back, so Evero would be the DC. Whoever comes in MUST have an offensive and winning pedigree. Must force Wilson to run the offense as he desires, not the way Wilson desires. Hackett had to kowtow to Wilson and was way too inexperienced in all other areas to try otherwise. His offensive staff was TERRIBLE. They would be well served to try and get Munchak to come back as at least OL coach.

  2. Great leaders love dumpster fires with a silver lining. Fangio would be fine coming back on Peyton’s staff. The ownership does not hate Fangio. The owners thought they were getting Aaron with Hackett. A proven super bowl QB who will be in the HOF (yes..a down year) still at a prime age. The potential of opening up $50 Million in cap space. Free agents will flock to Sean Peyton. Owners will pay what it takes and give all the control Peyton needs (I’m guessing the Broncos current GM may be in trouble or reassigned). If I were Peyton, I know where I’d want to go. Most people would not touch Denver….most people are followers not true leaders

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