With John Fox out, what's next for Denver Broncos?


The Broncos and John Fox sent shockwaves through the NFL with their mutual decision to part ways on Monday. Now the fallout: Who will replace Fox on the sideline, and how will that decision impact the future of Peyton Manning?

The speculation starts with Adam Gase. The Broncos offensive coordinator has developed a strong relationship with Manning, who said after Sunday's divisional round loss to the Colts he was unsure whether he would continue his NFL career. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Manning has been calling NFL teams himself to sell Gase as a head coach. Will he now make that same pitch to team president John Elway?

Gase is a logical candidate, but the plot is thick right now. NFL Media's Jeff Darlington reported Monday that Elway spoke to his entire coaching staff -- including Gase and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio -- to inform them they have the permission to look elsewhere despite being under contract. Elway said the next head coach will have the power to pick his own staff.

The possibility of a total housecleaning is very real.

Rapoport reported Monday that the 49ers are expected to meet with Gase as soon as Monday night for a second interview. Del Rio, who has been open in his desire to return to a head-coaching role, is seen as a strong candidate to land with the Raiders. He will have a second interview with the team on Tuesday, per Rapoport.

If the Broncos don't hire from within, where else could they go? Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak announced Sunday he'd decline any head-coaching interview requests and stay in Baltimore. Of course, that was before the Denver job opened up. Gary Kubiak was John Elway's backup for eight seasons in Denver and has extensive head-coaching experience from his run in Houston.

One name you can cross off the list is Mike Shanahan, who guided the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl titles in Elway's final seasons as a player. Shanahan has been in the discussion for several head-coaching jobs and is looking to get back in the game after a one-year hiatus, but Rapoport reported a Broncos reunion is not considered an option.

If Manning is on the fence about a return, it's hard to imagine the veteran quarterback being excited by the possibility of learning a new offense under a foreign coaching staff. The Broncos, a model of consistency in recent years, are suddenly a team in tumult.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Divisional Round game and ranks the remaining quarterbacks still standing. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.