Broncos' hiring of Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett as coach certain to fuel Aaron Rodgers rumors
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers are losing offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to the Denver Broncos and the logical question that follows is whether quarterback Aaron Rodgers is next.
A source confirmed an NFL Network report that the Broncos are finalizing a deal with Hackett to become their head coach. The Broncos announced the hiring Thursday afternoon and Hackett will begin assembling his staff immediately.
Denver has long been a rumored trade partner with the Packers should they decide to deal Rodgers. The Broncos have lots of cap room, the No. 9 pick in the 2022 draft, two second-round and two third-round picks this year and now they have one of Rodgers’ favorite coaches.
Rodgers has yet to tell the Packers whether he is willing to sign a contract extension or would prefer to finish his career somewhere else. The Packers can't trade Rodgers until March 16, the start of the NFL's calendar year and free agency.
Luke Getsy or Adam Stenavich could be candidates to replace Hackett
Coach Matt LaFleur said this week that if Hackett got a head-coaching job, he would replace him with someone in-house. The leading candidates are quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Luke Getsy and running game coordinator and offensive line coach Adam Stenavich.
NFL Network said the Broncos planned on asking permission to speak to Stenavich for the offensive coordinator’s position, which could indicate that LaFleur has chosen Getsy to be his new offensive coordinator.
LaFleur doesn't have the option of denying the Broncos permission to interview either candidate because the job being offered would likely be considered a promotion. However, it's unlikely Hackett would try to take both coaches and leave LaFleur without one of his prime candidates for the coordinator's position.
Losing either Getsy or Stenavich would be a big loss, and LaFleur may have to get creative with staff assignments to try to keep both. He could give both coaches significant raises and split Hackett's duties among them and an outside hire.
LaFleur has said that he wouldn’t stop an assistant coach from leaving to take a higher position, but Getsy and Stenavich are such a big part of the team’s offensive operation, it’s likely he’ll try to convince both to stay.
“We've got a lot of confidence in the guys that we have on our staff,” LaFleur said Monday. “You know, we got so many good guys, and it's not going to be an easy decision. Let me just tell you that.”
Nathaniel Hackett has been Packers' offensive coordinator for three years
Hackett leaves after three seasons as LaFleur's offensive coordinator. He did not call plays, but he was in constant communication with LaFleur during games and was in charge of drawing up game plans and managing the offensive staff.
Hackett's creativity and ebullience made him a favorite among coaches and players.
He was well-known for his humor, especially in presentations to the team, and was fond of making James Bond, Austin Powers and Star Wars references. He renamed the red zone the "gold zone," borrowing the term from one of the Austin Powers movies, "Goldmember."
In his three years, the Packers ranked 10th in total offense this year, fifth last year and 18th in 2019. Rodgers won one MVP award and will likely receive a second when it is announced Feb. 10.