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Report: Broncos, Others Could Eye John Harbaugh as Head Coach

January 01, 2019 - 11:18 am

By Joe Schiller

The infamous Black Monday has come and gone in the NFL, leaving eight coaching vacancies.

Hue Jackson, Mike McCarthy, Todd Bowles, Vance Joseph, Dirk Koetter, Adam Gase, Steve Wilks, and Marvin Lewis were relieved of their head coaching duties following unsuccessful campaigns in 2018.

One-fourth of teams will have a coach next season and many of them are already beginning their rounds of interviews in the early offseason.

One team, in particular, could be eyeing a playoff-caliber head coach.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported on Monday that the Denver Broncos could pursue a path to hiring Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

“The chatter in league circles regarding Denver’s future continues to be that G.M. John Elway would like to find a way to hire Ravens coach John Harbaugh or, failing that, a path to returning Mike Shanahan to the franchise,” said Florio

Hours before Sunday’s 26-24 win over the Cleveland Browns, which secured the Ravens a playoff berth and the AFC North title, there was chatter around a potential trade.

Trading for a head coach is unprecedented but not unimaginable. It’s happened before, most notably when Bill Belichick was traded from the New York Jets to the New England Patriots in 2000. Subsequently, Jon Gruden was dealt from the Oakland Raiders to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002.

Harbaugh received a one-year extension before the start of the 2017 season after his current contract was set to expire following the 2018 season. The Ravens released a statement on December 21st announcing that Harbaugh would remain the head coach in the 2019 season and that the two sides were working on an extension.

Even while Baltimore is set to contend for a Super Bowl title in the coming weeks, they’re beginning next season with a reset. Lamar Jackson will assume starting quarterback duties and Eric DeCosta succeeds Ozzie Newsome as the general manager.

Harbaugh’s success over the final seven weeks of the regular season gives the Ravens leverage. So does Harbaugh’s resume, with a 114-77 career coaching record and a Super Bowl title.

The most realistic compensation would be draft picks, something Baltimore covets. They are without a 2019 second-round pick after trading up to select Jackson in last year's draft. 

As far as we know, any extension has yet to be finalized. If a team such as the Broncos seriously inquires, I don’t think the Ravens should vehemently deny any discussion.