Broncos top coaching target wasn’t DeMeco Ryans and still isn’t

The Broncos pursuit of DeMeco Ryans is seemingly coming to an end but one insider says the 49ers defensive coordinator has never been Denver’s top target.

Denver Broncos fans have known for some time now that they would need a new head coach for the 2023 season. Who is going to replace Nathaniel Hackett, however, has been a whirlwind. But for the past week or so, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans appeared to be the top target…until he wasn’t.

With Ryans seemingly having done everything but put pen to paper to become the next coach of the Houston Texans, the Broncos have seemingly been scrambling for options, even secretly reaching back out to Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh for another meeting. And as it turns out, that’s because Harbaugh has reportedly always been “their guy”.

According to NFL and Denver insider Benjamin Allbright, Ryans was the second choice in Denver after Harbaugh was announced by the Michigan president to be returning to Ann Arbor. However, Harbaugh was the first choice and, after the secret interview, remains the No. 1 option.

Broncos rumors: Jim Harbaugh is and has been Denver’s top target, not DeMeco Ryans

Allbright did later clarify that, despite other reports, Ryans has not yet told Denver no and it is not necessarily a formality that he becomes the Texans head coach, though that is the expectation still.

Having said that, something certainly seemed a bit off regarding the Broncos coaching search, particularly when they reached back out to Harbaugh. As it turns out, it was merely a case of some misreported interest from Denver in other candidates as they appear to just be locked in on their top target, the Michigan head coach.

Now, given that Harbaugh seemed to have already committed to return to the Wolverines, it’s impossible to say if Denver’s persistence in wooing the former 49ers head coach will be in vain or if they can actually pull it off. However, these latest reports indicate that they won’t be overly distraught at missing out on Ryans, especially if they can reel in the big fish from Ann Arbor.

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