San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is being courted heavily by the Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos.
Looking over the past decade, it is understandable why the Broncos job would be better than going back to Houston, where Ryans started out his NFL career as a linebacker from 2006-11 before finishing out with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2012-15.
Denver has won a Super Bowl not too long ago, earning their third world championship in Super Bowl 50 at the end of the 2015 campaign. Meanwhile the Texans have yet to appear in an AFC Championship Game.
However, the Broncos have their own frailties, which still makes Houston an appealing gig in the 2023 hiring cycle.
Ownership group already has a profile
Ownership plays a big part in whether or not a coach stays with an organization. In fact, it was the sale of the New York Jets to new ownership that compelled Bill Belichick to resign as coach despite being on the job for about a day.
“Due to various uncertainties surrounding my position as it relates to the team’s new ownership, I have decided to resign as the head coach of the New York Jets,” Belichick’s statement read at his resignation.
Belichick even mentioned that was one of the frequent conversations he had with Bill Parcells after the 1999 season.
The Broncos are ran by an ownership group, the Walton-Penner Ownership Group with Greg Penner as the CEO. While chairman and CEO Cal McNair has had a different coach in each full season he has been in control of the team since 2019, it has been extenuating circumstances that compelled him to go through a coach each year.
The Walton-Penner Ownership Group demonstrated after one season they will fire a coach, too, and they have barely been in the NFL a full year. There is less a coaching prospect would know about the Walton-Penner Ownership Group than he would the McNairs.
For a coach like Ryans, he would have enough capital and good grace with the McNair family to carve out some stability, as long as the Texans showed improvement on the field.
Zero flexibility at quarterback
A new coach would be locked in with Russell Wilson as their starter. Among the first tasks of starting successfully would be to win over the former Super Bowl champion who is under contract through 2028 with an average salary of $48,517,647. And this is a quarterback who left the Seattle Seahawks because of “irreconcilable differences.” In other words, this is a veteran not afraid to squabble with a coaching staff and front office.
With the Texans, a new coach could have their system and expectations and rudiments of culture in place, and simply find a rookie quarterback who fits that mold. The rookie would also be on a team-friendly deal that would allow for the acquisition or retention of free agent pieces to help with the team’s success.
The Texans have six picks in the top-103 of the 2023 NFL draft. They have a total of 12 picks, tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the most in April’s draft. Will Houston use all of them? More than likely, as has been the case under general manger Nick Caserio, they will build packages to find specific players. In other words, a new coach is going to have ample opportunities to get players who reflect the attitude of his team.
The Texans also have $37.3 million in salary cap space, the fifth-most in the NFL. If there is a veteran the new coach wants to get, more than likely Houston will be able to make it work.