Mercifully, the Denver Broncos 2022 season has come to an end.

For Broncos Country, 2022 was a season that never came close to living up to the hype and hope which was created preseason.

Nathaniel Hackett was supposed to be the fun, young, offensive genius of a head coach. Russell Wilson was supposed to be the superstar quarterback the Broncos have been missing since 2014, Peyton Manning’s final solid season in the pros. And it was expected to be the year the Broncos could make it back to the postseason after now seven years missing the playoffs.

Unfortunately, none of that came to pass this year.

The positive side of that failure is Denver will bring in a new head coach, likely hiring them in the next few weeks.

And with their new ownership, the Broncos look to spare no expense, as was seen by the team installing new turf for $400k just before the season finale.

So, who will the Broncos interview? Here’s our coaching tracker and running list:

Denver Broncos coaching search tracker

New Owner and CEO Greg Penner made it clear earlier in the year he, General Manager George Paton and other owners will be on the interview panel as the Broncos search for their next head coach.

So, who will interview for the position? Here’s what we know so far, and we’ll add to the list as it grows:

UPDATE 1/24: Today, Jeff Duncan reports Sean Payton interviewed with Carolina on Monday. He will interview with Arizona on Thursday, and that will delay the Broncos’ second-round interview with the coach.

Dan Quinn will interview with the Cardinals on Tuesday for a second time, per Tom Pelissero. Denver wants to bring in Quinn for a second interview this week, as do the Colts:

Also of note: DeMeco Ryans canceled his interviews with the Colts and Cardinals. He’s unable to interview this week with the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, but is likely to interview a second time with the Broncos and Texans.

As of today, it looks like Payton, Quinn and Ryans are all finalists for the Broncos head coaching job, but the team has yet to release a finalist list.

UPDATE 1/23: Jeff Duncan of reported Sean Payton and the Broncos will have their second-round interview on Wednesday, but then walked to back to say it hasn’t been scheduled yet.

Meanwhile, Payton will interview with the fourth team in this cycle, the Arizona Cardinals, on Thursday per Ian Rapoport:

Payton interviewed with the Broncos, Texans and his interview with the Panthers is reportedly happening today after being rescheduled from when it was supposed to take place last Friday.

UPDATE 1/16: Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, everyone! Today has brought a lot of news around the Broncos head coaching search.

First and foremost, according to the Michigan University President Santa Ono, Jim Harbaugh will be staying with the Michigan Wolverines.

Also, Sean Payton was on Colin Cowherd’s show today talking about his next landing spot as a head coach. Payton said he’s interviewing with Houston, Denver and then Carolina this week. When Cowherd asked him about possible compensation, Payton wouldn’t discuss what he would be looking for in pay, but said the New Orleans Saints will be looking for a mid-to-late first-round pick in compensation.

Of note, Cowherd said Denver didn’t have one, but they do as the coach corrected him (1:47), a later pick from Miami due to the Bradley Chubb trade. Payton also explained how each team has different “ammo” and explained Houston has a ton of picks and play in a weak division. The long-time head coach also explained the ownership is the biggest priority on his list. Denver is set up with the richest owners in the NFL.

Mark Maske explains how Payton “likes Broncos’ stable ownership” here.

Payton and the Broncos will meet Tuesday, Jan. 17 in the morning in Los Angeles according to Adam Schefter.

With Harbaugh out of the race, Payton is the definite No. 1 pick for next head coach for the Broncos. But, if they can’t get a deal done with him, Dan Quinn is seemingly the next highest on their list.

UPDATE 1/11: ESPN is reporting Sean Payton is the No. 1 option for the Broncos, with Jim Harbaugh as runner-up. The Broncos cannot interview Payton until Jan. 17.

Coaching Candidates

  • Ejiro Evero – Denver’s defensive coordinator will be the second person to interview for the head coaching job, and that interview will reportedly be conducted on Tuesday. He’s going to be interviewed in person, too, since he’s already in Denver, per Mike Klis. Evero is in his first season as defensive coordinator for the Broncos and was the defensive backs coach with the Super Bowl champion LA Rams in 2021. He’s been in the league in various roles since 2007 and is a rising name in the coaching game.
  • Jim Harbaugh – The Michigan Wolverines coach took his team to back-to-back college football playoffs, but lost before making it to the National Championship Game the last two years. Klis’ above piece confirmed Harbaugh was interviewed by the Broncos on Monday, Jan. 9  over Zoom, for two hours, due to his busy schedule. For many folks, Harbaugh is the top name on the list, although it’s still unknown if he will leave the NCAA and Michigan for a second stint in the NFL. He was a highly successful head coach for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-14, even leading them to a Super Bowl in 2012, and previous head coaching experience seems like a crucial piece to the puzzle for the Broncos after failing with first-timer Hackett this year. His coaching record with the Niners was 44-19-1.
  • UPDATE 1/11: Jim Caldwell – According to Josina Anderson, the Broncos will interview Jim Caldwell today. Caldwell is currently out of the league, most recently the Miami Dolphins QB Coach/Assistsnt head coach. He was the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 2009-2011 and then of the Detroit Lions from 2014-17. His combined coaching record was 62-50, going 2-4 in the postseason.
  • UPDATE 1/11: David Shaw – Former Stanford head coach interviewed with Denver on Tuesday per Adam Schefter.
    Shaw went 96-54 with Stanford and coached in the NFL as recently as 2005.
  • Raheem Morris (Did interview 1/17) – Per Adam Schefter, the Broncos have requested to interview the current LA Rams defensive coordinator, Raheem Morris. Morris, like Harbaugh, has previous head coaching experience. Not only was he the interim head man in Atlanta five games into the 2020 season, he was also head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009-2011. He has a 21-38 record as a head coach.
  • DeMeco Ryans (Interviewed 1/19)- Denver has also requested to interview current San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Ryans has only been in the coaching game for five years, but his 49ers defense has been one of the best in the league the last two seasons, including being the No. 1 defense in points and yards allowed this year.
  • Dan Quinn (Interviewed 1/20) – Dan Quinn, the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator, looks to be the No. 3 favorite behind Harbaugh and Sean Payton (who we’ll get to in a minute.) Quinn interviewed with the Broncos last year before Hackett was eventually hired. He’s a longtime NFL coach, dating back to 2001, and has been with the Cowboys the last two years. They were seventh in points allowed in 2021 and then fifth-best this year under Quinn. He also has head coaching experience, leading the Atlanta Falcons from 2015-2020 with a 43-42 record there and helped lead them to a Super Bowl loss in 2016 to the Patriots.
  • Sean Payton (Interviewed 1/17) – Much has happened between the Broncos and Sean Payton, but they haven’t actually scheduled an interview with him yet. Denver did contact him and even began negotiations for his contract — they would have to trade at least a first-round pick to the Saints — but he would not be able to interview until at least Jan. 17. Payton would not only be expensive in terms of trading away Draft picks, but he would command likely $25 million per year according to reports. Harbaugh would be looking for $20M per, for what it’s worth. Payton was the Saints head coach from 2006-2021 save the 2012 season he had to sit out due to “Bountygate” in which Saints players were paid to injure opponents. During that extensive tenure, Payton amassed an impressive 152-89 record with a Super Bowl win and went 9-8 in the postseason. While many look at Harbaugh as the favorite, some look at Payton as their favorite due to his offensive-minded coaching and the hope he could help Russell Wilson regain his former superstar form.

We’ll continually add to this piece as news develops.