According to NFL Network’s insider Tom Peliserro, the Carolina Panthers are hiring now-former Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero to be their defensive coordinator. The Broncos allowed Evero out of his contract yesterday and he quickly joined Frank Reich’s staff in Carolina.
The #Panthers are hiring Ejiro Evero as their defensive coordinator, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 5, 2023
A huge hire for Frank Reich and Carolina, which moved swiftly to lock up one of the NFL’s most talented young coaches after Denver let Evero out of his contract. pic.twitter.com/Y2QvSy2QvV
Peliserro notes that the Broncos wanted to keep Evero but he wanted a fresh start elsewhere and the two decided to part ways. The Vikings were the rumored favorites for Evero but he decided to join Frank Reich’s staff in Carolina and take over a defense full of young talent.
Evero had a pretty good first season as defensive coordinator for the Broncos this past season. The unit looked dominant in the first half of the season and is a big reason why the Broncos won the games they did. However, because of injuries, poor offensive output, and just natural regression, the unit did not play as well in the second half of the season. However, this showing made Evero a hot coaching candidate pretty quickly in league circles.
There were five head coaching vacancies this offseason and Evero interviewed for all five of them. He was not a favorite for any of the jobs and is likely one more good year away from being a legitimate head coaching candidate. However, there was interest in him as a defensive coordinator. The Broncos wanted to keep him, but his relationship with former head coach Nathaniel Hackett likely played a big reason why Evero wanted a fresh start elsewhere. The Atlanta Falcons early on wanted to interview Evero for their defensive job but they were quickly blocked. However, after a meeting with newly hired head coach Sean Payton, the Broncos granted permission to Evero to interview with the Vikings and Panthers. In the end, despite rumors connecting the Vikings, he ended up with the Panthers.
As for the Broncos, they are looking at Steelers linebackers coach Brian Flores and Seahawks assistant head coach/defensive assistant Sean Desai as replacements. Flores is a finalist and heavy favorite for the Vikings' defensive coordinator job while Desai is viewed as the early front-runner for the Broncos' defensive coordinator job. Vic Fangio, who worked with Desai in Chicago and has a good relationship with Sean Payton highly recommended Desai to Payton. This is why he is viewed as the early front-runner. He also removed himself from consideration for the Vikings' job so he’s focusing on the Broncos' job.
We should have some clarity on this hire in the coming days, but right now, Desai looks like the favorite to replace Ejiro Evero as the defensive coordinator in Denver.