Broncos Rumors

Chargers Hire Renaldo Hill As DC

The Chargers will hire Broncos defensive backs coach Renaldo Hill for their defensive coordinator position, as Albert Breer of The MMQB tweets. Hill, a former NFL safety, has long been considered a “rising star” in the coaching ranks.

[RELATED: Chargers Hire Joe Lombardi As OC]

Hill has managed the Broncos’ defensive backs for the past two seasons, including the 2019 season when he overlapped with new Bolts head coach Brandon Staley. This new job marks Hill’s biggest role in his coaching career, which began at the University of Wyoming in 2012. His NFL coaching career, meanwhile, only began a few years ago with a job on the Dolphins’ staff.

Staley has been contacting former colleagues in recent weeks and recently tapped one-time Broncos assistant Frank Smith as his offensive line/run game manager. And, just over the weekend, Staley hired fellow Dayton alum Joe Lombardi to be his new offensive coordinator. There’s been a lot of talk about the weapons at Lombardi’s disposal, but Hill also has plenty to work with in safety Derwin James, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, corners Casey Hayward and Chris Harris, and edge rushers Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Rams, WFT, Jets, Falcons, Broncos, Steelers

The Rams have found their new special teams coordinator, as the team announced that they’ve hired Joe DeCamillis. The veteran coach will be replacing John Bonamego, who’s transitioning to a senior coaching assistant role.

DeCamillis brings 32 years of NFL coaching experience, including the past four years as the Jaguars special teams coordinator. During his stint in Jacksonville, the team traditionally ranked top-10 in many special teams categories, and in 2019, DeCamillis helped guide punter Logan Cooke and kicker Josh Lambo to becoming the first teammates to lead the NFL in net punting average and field goal percentage.

Prior to working with the Jaguars, the 55-year-old spent time as special teams coordinator with the Broncos, Bears, and Cowboys, and he also spent time on the Falcons and Giants coaching staffs.

Bonamego, 57, joined the Rams last February. He spent the 2019 season as special teams coordinator of the Lions, and he was Central Michigan’s head coach between the 2015 and 2018 seasons.

Some more coaching notes from around the league…

  • Jennifer King is expected to become a full-time offensive assistant on Washington‘s coaching staff, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). This makes King “the first full-time Black female coach in NFL history,” per The Athletic. The Guilford College product spent the 2020 season as a full-year coaching intern on Ron Rivera‘s staff.
  • It’s looking like new Jets head coach Robert Saleh has finalized his offensive coaching staff. We previously heard about the hirings of Mike LaFleur as offensive coordinator, Greg Knapp as quarterbacks coach, John Benton as offensive line coach, and Rob Calabrese as passing game specialist. ESPN’s Rich Cimini passed along a few names we can add to the list, including wide receivers coach Miles Austin, running backs coach Taylor Embree, and tight ends coach Ron Middleton. As Cimini notes, the staff doesn’t feature a whole lot of experience, with Calabrese, Embree, and Austin serving as first-time NFL positional coaches.
  • The Falcons are expected to hire Charles London as their new quarterbacks coach, reports NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). It’s a bit of an interesting hire, as London has spent the last nine years serving as a running backs coach with the Texans, Bears, and Penn State. However, the 45-year-old does have experience as an offensive assistant/quality control coach with the Titans and Bears.
  • Mike Klis of 9News in Denver tweets that Broncos running backs coach Curtis Modkins has drawn interest “from around the league as offensive coordinator.” The 50-year-old has consistently served as an NFL running backs coach since the 2008 season, spending time with the Chiefs, Cardinals, Bills, Lions, 49ers, and Bears.
  • Mike Tomlin interviewed Hank Fraley for the Steelers OL coach gig, reports Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette (via Twitter). Fraley actually started his NFL career in Pittsburgh, as the Steelers signed him as an undrafted free agent back in 2000. Following a playing career that saw him appear in 142 games (mostly with the Eagles and Browns), Fraley has served as a coach at both the collegiate and professional level, including a recent stint as the Lions offensive line coach.

Chargers Interview Renaldo Hill For DC

The Chargers interviewed Broncos defensive backs coach Renaldo Hill for their defensive coordinator position, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets, Staley. Hill has history with new head coach Brandon Staley after working with him in 2019.

Hill, a former NFL safety, has managed the Broncos’ defensive backs for the past two seasons. He began his coaching career at Wyoming in 2012, before breaking into the pros as the Dolphins’ assistant DBs coach in 2018. Hill has long been considered a “rising star” in the coaching ranks — the Chargers DC job would represent a slingshot up the ladder.

Earlier this week, Staley brought over another former Broncos colleague in Frank Smith. Smith, who spent 2020 as the Raiders’ tight ends coach, will serve as the Bolts’ offensive line coach and run game coordinator. Meanwhile, the Chargers were said to be targeting Kevin O’Connell for their OC vacancy, but they’ll have to look elsewhere after the Rams blocked the interview.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

George Paton Explains Team-Building Philosophy

George Paton was introduced as the Broncos general manager today, and the executive gave a thoughtful response when explaining how he’d help to reestablish a winning culture in Denver.

Paton joined the Broncos on a six-year deal. Under the restructured front office, Paton and head coach Vic Fangio will report to John Elway, who will have less to do with the team’s day-to-day roster decisions.

Updated 2021 NFL Draft Order

With the Divisional Round in the books, the 2021 NFL Draft order is mostly complete. The Rams, Browns, Ravens, and Saints now have their draft spots locked in, though the Rams’ first-round pick belongs to Urban Meyer and the Jaguars. The Rams traded those rights to Jacksonville as a part of the Jalen Ramsey blockbuster.

Here’s the updated draft order, through the top 28:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars
2. New York Jets
3. Miami Dolphins (via Texans)
4. Atlanta Falcons
5. Cincinnati Bengals
6. Philadelphia Eagles
7. Detroit Lions
8. Carolina Panthers
9. Denver Broncos
10. Dallas Cowboys
11. New York Giants
12. San Francisco 49ers
13. Los Angeles Chargers
14. Minnesota Vikings
15. New England Patriots
16. Arizona Cardinals
17. Las Vegas Raiders
18. Miami Dolphins
19. Washington Football Team
20. Chicago Bears
21. Indianapolis Colts
22. Tennessee Titans
23. New York Jets (via Seahawks)
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams)
26. Cleveland Browns
27. Baltimore Ravens
28. New Orleans Saints

Broncos Notes: Miller, Paton, Lock

Broncos LB Von Miller is the subject of a criminal investigation in Parker, CO, as Mike Klis of 9News.com was among those to report (via Twitter). Parker police would not comment on the nature of the investigation, though a report from FOX 31 suggests that it pertains to domestic abuse allegations levied against Miller by his ex-fiancée. The Broncos issued a statement indicating they are aware of the situation and are in the process of gathering more info.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, a decision on whether charges will be filed will not be made for several weeks. Obviously, any allegations of domestic violence are serious and outweigh any on-field concerns, but Miller’s future with the Broncos was already in doubt. He missed the entire 2020 campaign due to an ankle injury, and though he earned Pro Bowl honors in 2019, his eight sacks that year marked a career low (aside from a five-sack effort in 2013, when he played in just nine games).

Klis reports in a full-length piece that the Broncos will ask Miller to take a pay cut. The soon-to-be 32-year-old is due a $17.5MM base salary in 2021 — the last year of his current contract — but carries a $22.225MM cap charge due to an earlier restructure. Denver could release him and create $18MM in cap space, and given that Miller is unlikely to earn $17.5MM on the open market, he may be amenable to a reduction in pay. If the domestic allegations are substantiated, he can definitely bank on a suspension.

Now for more from the Mile High City:

  • In the same piece linked above, Klis examines the most pressing questions for new GM George Paton. Paton and HC Vic Fangio will report to John Elway in the team’s revamped power structure, but Paton will have control over personnel matters. One of his first orders of business — aside from the Miller issue — will be to sort out the Broncos’ QB situation. Veteran signal-callers like Matthew Stafford and Deshaun Watson may or may not be available on the trade market, and even if a blockbuster trade doesn’t happen, Klis expects Paton to bring in legitimate competition for incumbent passer Drew Lock. Paton will also have the No. 9 overall pick at his disposal.
  • The contract situation of safety Justin Simmons will need to be addressed as well. Simmons and the Broncos were unable to come to terms on a multi-year contract last offseason, so the newly-minted Pro Bowler played out the 2020 season under a $11.4MM franchise tag. Klis suggests that Simmons could adjust his asking price on a long-term deal given the expected decrease in the 2021 salary cap, and he also says a second tag — worth about $13.7MM — could be in play.
  • Saints vice president of pro personnel Terry Fontenot was the runner-up to Paton in the Broncos’ GM hunt, as Klis tweets. Denver was able to convince Paton — who had been a hot GM candidate for years — to finally leave Minnesota, but the club was certainly impressed by Fontenot, who is now said to be the Falcons’ top choice for their GM vacancy.

Broncos To Hire George Paton As GM

The Broncos found their new GM. Vikings exec George Paton is finalizing a six-year deal with Denver, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). 

Paton has rebuffed interview opportunities and job offers for years, citing his love of living in Minnesota. This time around, the Broncos’ offer was too good to pass up. Just recently, Paton seemed to be on the verge of becoming the Browns’ next GM, but he ultimately backed out. The Jets also made a strong push to hire him before Paton said no.

There were other interesting candidates in the mix, including Bears exec Champ Kelly, who has history with the Broncos. Still, Paton was their top target. Under the new structure, Paton and head coach Vic Fangio will report to John Elway, who will have less to do with the team’s day-to-day roster decisions. Elway was responsible for luring Peyton Manning to the team and helping to build a championship-caliber defense. But, things went downhill after Super Bowl 50. With Paton in charge, the Broncos believe they can work their way back to the top.

Saints exec Terry Fontenot and Broncos director of college scouting Brian Stark were also up for the job. Patriots assistant player personnel director Dave Ziegler was in the mix too, but ultimately backed out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2021 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

This year’s NFL GM carousel figures to be more active than usual. The Falcons, Lions, Panthers, Texans, and Jaguars are all on the hunt for a new front office leader. And that’s only the official list. The real tally shows six clubs looking for a GM, since the Washington Football Team is expected to install a GM to work alongside head coach Ron Rivera. By mid-January, we could easily see a couple more jobs opening up — that’d put ~25% of the NFL on the market.

We’ll keep track of the GM candidates for each club here, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make general manager changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here’s the current breakdown:

Updated 1-19-21 (7:02pm CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers 

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Washington Football Team

George Paton, Terry Fontenot Get Second Broncos Interviews

Vikings’ Assistant GM/VP of Player Personnel George Paton will have a second meeting with the Broncos on Tuesday, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Ditto for Saints assistant GM Terry Fontenot, per Mike Klis of KUSA (Twitter link).

Bears exec Champ Kelly and Patriots assistant director of player personnel Dave Ziegler are among the other external candidates for the position. Ziegler has since backed out, opting to stay in New England. The Broncos also interviewed their own college scouting director, Brian Stark, though it’s not clear if he’s still in the running.

Fontenot has also been considered by the Lions, Jaguars, and Panthers in this cycle. The 40-year-old has been with New Orleans for 16 years. Paton, meanwhile, has been a hot GM candidate for some time. But, in years past, he rebuffed a number of opportunities.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2021 NFL Draft Order

Wild Card weekend is in the books and 75% of the NFL’s 2021 Draft order has been set. Here’s the rundown, thus far:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars
2. New York Jets
3. Miami Dolphins (via Texans)
4. Atlanta Falcons
5. Cincinnati Bengals
6. Philadelphia Eagles
7. Detroit Lions
8. Carolina Panthers
9. Denver Broncos
10. Dallas Cowboys
11. New York Giants
12. San Francisco 49ers
13. Los Angeles Chargers
14. Minnesota Vikings
15. New England Patriots
16. Arizona Cardinals
17. Las Vegas Raiders
18. Miami Dolphins
19. Washington Football Team
20. Chicago Bears
21. Indianapolis Colts
22. Tennessee Titans
23. New York Jets (via Seahawks)
24. Pittsburgh Steelers