Just one day after being let out of his Broncos contract, Ejiro Evero has found his next NFL opportunity. The Panthers are hiring him to be their new defensive coordinator, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link). The team has announced the move.
The 42-year-old helped his stock around the league during the 2022 season, his first in Denver. The Broncos generally held up very well defensively, in spite of the team’s significant struggles on offense. It therefore came as little surprise when Evero was offered the interim head coaching role after Nathaniel Hackett was fired, but he turned down that opportunity in lieu of preparing for a busy offseason fielding interest from around the league.
Evero was closely tied to the Vikings’ DC vacancy, especially in the wake of Denver’s decision to let him head elsewhere. The Broncos’ front office preferred to keep him in place alongside new head coach Sean Payton, but the latter will be headed in a different direction to fill out that position on his staff.
The Panthers – who interviewed Evero for their head coaching vacancy last month – opted for a more experienced option in Frank Reich. It was reported not long after that decision that Carolina’s target for the DC role was Vic Fangio, but he ended up taking a massive deal with the Dolphins. Evero was quickly named as a potential secondary option, and he is now set to guide a talented unit in Charlotte.
Carolina put up middling numbers across several defensive categories in 2022. They, like the team as a whole, played better down the stretch as the Panthers pushed for the division title in a weak NFC South. Much of the credit for their turnaround was given to interim head coach Steve Wilks; the latter was the players’ preference to be hired on a full-time basis, and interviewed twice for the position. Today’s announcement confirms, however, that he will need to look elsewhere to continue his coaching career.
As for Minnesota, who had been working on setting up an interview with Evero, their attention will now turn to the other presumed finalist to lead their defense. Pelissero’s colleague Ian Rapoport tweets that Brian Flores is the name to watch, adding that the Vikings are “now in a strong position” to hire the ex-Dolphins head coach. Denver, meanwhile, has shown interest in both Flores and Sean Desai for what is now an official DC vacancy. Regardless of what those two teams do, Evero is set for the new beginning he requested.