The Denver Broncos are on the cusp of missing the playoffs for a sixth-straight season. Change is coming, but how big, we don’t yet know.
Some teams around the league are looking ahead toward postseason journeys, while the best the Broncos can muster right now are dreams of a strong off-season.
The Broncos need big moves to fill some of the most critical positions within the team. With that in mind, NBC Sports’ Peter King laid out a possible scenario where GM George Paton brings three franchise-changing pieces to Denver.
In King’s ’10 Things I think I think’ section of Week 16’s FMIA column, he summarizes the plan; the Broncos hire Green Bay Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett as head coach while also acquiring MVP QB Aaron Rodgers and superstar wideout Davante Adams.
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Hackett Could Help Lore Rodgers to Denver
The first step of King’s scenario has the Broncos firing Vic Fangio, a move that seems imminent. Then, Denver would then turn to Hackett to lead the Broncos as the 18th head coach in the franchise’s history.
The 42-year-old Hackett has over a decade of coaching experience. Since 2013 he’s made three stops in the NFL as an offensive coordinator leading offenses for the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and now Packers. During parts of three seasons with the Green Bay as OC, he has developed a rapport with Rodgers.
In September, when asked during a press conference if Hackett would make a good head coach, Rodgers responded with a ringing endorsement.
“Look, he’s been around the game forever,” Rodgers said of Hackett. “He’s got an incredible passion, he has a great football mind, he’s an incredible teacher. I definitely see him as head coach material.”
With Hackett as OC in Green Bay, Rodgers has been incredibly successful, including in his 2020 MVP season as a 37-year-old when he led the league in passer rating (121.5), completion percentage (70.7), interception percentage (1.0), and touchdown passes (48).
The thought that Rodgers would want to be coached by a familiar face, one he’s had success alongside, isn’t far-fetched. If the Broncos want to entice Rodgers to come to Denver, bringing Hackett to lead the way may be a significant first step.
Broncos Could Sign Adams, Trade for Rodgers
King mentioning Rodgers and Broncos in the same sentence isn’t new. Ever since Rodgers’ dispute with the Packers came to light via ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Broncos have been seen as a possible suitor for his services down the line.
In King’s scenario, the Packers would first use a sizeable portion of their available cap space to sign Adams in free agency. According to Spotrac, the Broncos have just over $50 million in cap space ahead of the 2022 season.
Adams is arguably the best receiver in the NFL, and his next contract should prove that.
Among their free agency rankings, Pro Football Focus projected what a contract for Adams might look like, settling at four years, $93 million. PFF also mentioned the possibility of Adams following Rodgers to a new destination, writing “any receiver-needy tam would be in the running for his services and he may even try to engineer a package deal with Aaron Rodgers.”
After signing Adams, according to King, the Broncos would then trade a haul of draft picks and a player to the Packers in exchange for Rodgers. King’s deal includes a package of first and fourth-round draft picks in 2022, 2023’s first-round pick, and wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.
Adding Rodgers would be a much-needed jolt of life into the Broncos’ franchise, but as King said, adding a trio of Rodgers, Adams, and Hackett as head coach sets up Denver’s offense nicely for the next few seasons.
“If Rodgers, as expected, would sign an extension in Denver, his receiver group of Adams, [Courtland] Sutton and [Tim] Patrick would be with him for three years at least, through the end of the 2024 season – when Rodgers would be 41 years old,” King wrote.