While the Denver Broncos‘ 2022 season has been an abject disaster, first-year defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero has been among the lone bright spots in the Mile High City. Evero will be a candidate for the Broncos’ head coaching job in 2023 after Denver fired Nathaniel Hackett after Week 16, and he’ll generate interest from other teams around the NFL after leading one of the league’s best defenses.
Will Ejiro Evero Be the Broncos’ Next Head Coach?
The Broncos offered Evero the chance to serve as their interim head coach over the final two games of the season, but he rejected the opportunity due to his close personal relationship with Hackett, one of his best friends and a former college teammate.
Evero will be considered for Denver’s full-time job, but the Broncos will likely prioritize experience as they search for their next head coach. Additionally, general manager George Paton and the Broncos’ new ownership group may want to fully eradicate the Hackett era from their memory, which would include parting ways with Evero.
In addition to the Broncos, Evero will likely garner head coaching interviews from other teams with vacancies. He’s an excellent communicator who’s commanded the respect of Denver’s locker room and has gotten promising results out of the Broncos’ defense in his first year in charge.
Under Evero’s leadership, Denver’s defense ranks fourth in yards per play (4.9), fifth in expected points added per play (-0.057), and seventh in points allowed (20.3 per game). They’ve allowed just 28.29 yards per drive and 1.69 points per drive, both of which are top five in the NFL.
In a league where passing is king, Evero’s ability to design a defense that succeeds at stopping aerial attacks is especially notable. The Broncos are No. 1 in dropback success rate, No. 3 in EPA per dropback, and No. 4 in pass defense DVOA, while only the Eagles have allowed fewer net yards per pass attempt.
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Denver hasn’t been overly reliant on interceptions and fumble recoveries, as their 10.4% turnover rate ranks 20th in the NFL. And in a testament to Evero and his position coaches, the Broncos’ defense is exceptionally disciplined. They’ve committed just 25 defensive penalties for 246 yards, the second fewest in the league.
If Denver is searching for a candidate with previous head coaching experience, they might prefer to hire someone like Sean Payton or Dan Quinn over Evero. Even so, other teams with vacancies will be hunting for young coordinators with fresh ideas, and the 41-year-old Evero certainly fits that mold.
Evero’s Salary Expectations
Evero only has one year of coordinating experience under his belt, so he won’t command the type of double-digit salary that Sean McVay, Bill Belichick, and others collect. First-year head coaches typically fall in the $3-5 million range. For example, Hackett reportedly earned $4 million as a first-time HC with the Broncos.
If Denver is intent on retaining Evero, money shouldn’t be an object. The Broncos’ ownership group is the richest in the NFL, and there’s no salary cap on coaching salaries.
The Walton family was comfortable firing Hackett with multiple years remaining on his contract, so giving Evero an equitable salary to serve as a head coach wouldn’t be a problem.
Even if Evero doesn’t land a head coaching job during this cycle, he will assuredly be one of the most coveted defensive coordinator candidates in recent memory. Thus, he could land a salary that places him among the highest-paid DCs in the NFL.
Evero’s Coaching History
Before joining Denver, Evero spent five years with the Rams as a secondary coach and passing game coordinator. His work with former Rams defensive coordinator and current Chargers head coach Brandon Staley is evident in Denver’s scheme every Sunday.
Evero originally entered the NFL coaching ranks with the Buccaneers, for whom he was a defensive quality control assistant from 2007-09. He worked on both sides of the ball for the 49ers from 2011-15 before joining the Packers as a quality control coach in 2016.
Evero also has experience at the collegiate level. He was an assistant coach at UC Davis, his alma mater, from 2005-06, before serving as the special teams coordinator and safeties coach at the University of Redlands in 2010.