3:40pm: It’s a four-year deal for Del Rio, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
3:10pm: The Raiders have officially hired Del Rio, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
2:17pm: A person familiar with the Raiders’ coach search told Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group (on Twitter) that a completed deal to hire Del Rio as head coach is “not imminent.” Still, the two sides still working on it.
7:44am: While the Niners pursue Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase for their head coaching job, the league’s other Bay Area team appears poised to lock up Denver’s defensive coordinator for their own coaching opening. According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Raiders are expected to name Jack Del Rio as their new head coach, and an announcement could come as soon as today.
Del Rio’s defense in Denver, where he has been the coordinator since 2012, hasn’t been quite as effective or as heralded as the unit on the other side of the ball. However, after ranking in the middle of the pack a year ago, the Broncos’ defense finished fourth in DVOA in 2014, with Del Rio taking advantage of an influx of free agent talent, including DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, and T.J. Ward.
As our head coaching search tracker shows, the Raiders’ list of candidates and interviewees didn’t include as many notable names as several other team’s lists. The team didn’t target highly-regarded coordinators like Dan Quinn or Teryl Austin, or former head coaches such as Rex Ryan or Doug Marrone. While Oakland tried to interview Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, he passed on the opportunity after receiving plenty of interest from other suitors.
Still, Del Rio, who had a long second interview with the team on Tuesday, had been considered a top option for the Raiders since the start of their search. There was a belief in recent days that the team’s choice would come down to the Broncos’ defensive coordinator or interim head coach Tony Sparano. And according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), the club decided late last night not to promote Sparano to the permanent role, opening the door for Del Rio.
Del Rio, of course, has previous head coaching experience, having spent the better part of nine seasons with the Jaguars. That stint included a 68-71 overall regular season record, along with a pair of playoff berths, and a single postseason victory, in the 2007 season.
Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group noted last night (via Twitter) that offensive coordinator Greg Olson and special teams coordinator Bobby April actually remain under contract for the Raiders in 2015. However, it’s possible – or perhaps even likely – that they’ll be released from those deals to pursue other opportunities, with Del Rio bringing in his own coordinators.
Jordan Raanan of NJ.com speculates (via Twitter) that Mike Smith, who was Del Rio’s defensive coordinator for several years in Jacksonville and was recently let go by the Falcons, could be a DC candidate. Meanwhile, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link) says he wouldn’t be surprised if another Atlanta coach who worked with Del Rio on the Jags – offensive line coach Mike Tice – follows his former colleague to Oakland.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.