Aaron Rodgers Could Quickly Make New Denver Broncos Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett the Most Beloved Man in Colorado

Welcome to the Denver Broncos, Nathaniel Hackett. If you choose to accept it, your first task is to steal Aaron Rodgers away from the Green Bay Packers. While you’re at it, see if you can’t get Davante Adams as well.

No pressure for the first-time head coach, right?

Those may not be the actual expectations in Denver, but considering Hackett’s ties to both Rodgers and Adams, it would sure be a great way to start his tenure with the Broncos.

Nathaniel Hackett is the new head coach of the Denver Broncos

It’s on Twitter, which means it’s real. Hackett is officially the 18th head coach in the history of the Denver Broncos.

Hackett, 42, has been a hot name on the coaching market for a few years now. He’s been working as the offensive coordinator under Matt LaFleur in Green Bay and has been one of the critical minds behind the Packers’ offensive success. Though LaFleur calls the plays and Rodgers has audible power, Hackett has been credited as the “glue guy” for Green Bay’s offense, playing an integral role in meetings, practice, and red-zone play-calling.

“Nathaniel Hackett is a dynamic leader and coach whose intelligence, innovation and charisma impressed us from the very start of this process,” general manager George Paton said, via the team website. “In addition to having a brilliant offensive mind, Nathaniel is an outstanding teacher and communicator with a strong vision for all three phases of our team.

“Getting to know Nathaniel over the last couple weeks, he will bring positive energy and enthusiasm to the entire Denver Broncos organization as our head coach. Creating a winning and competitive environment for the players, coaches and staff — and doing it through personal connections and efficiency — is a big part of his plan for the Broncos.”

Could Hackett play a role in bringing Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams to Denver?

New Denver Broncos Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett and Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett looks on as Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) warms up during a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Cleveland Browns. Could Aaron Rodgers end up in Denver? | Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Finding a young, exciting, offensive-minded head coach is a big step for the Broncos as they look to move on from the Vic Fangio era. Hackett brings more than just a fresh offensive perspective to Denver, though. He also brings a very notable connection to Rodgers.

The Packers trading Rodgers to Denver has been a popular rumor ever since it came out on Draft Day 2021 that the quarterback was unhappy with Green Bay and wanted out.

It makes sense, too, because the Broncos have the cap room to take on Rodgers’ contract while also having young assets like Jerry Jeudy or Noah Fant who the Packers may like in return. The Broncos also have the No. 9 pick and two second-round picks in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. Green Bay could certainly use one — if not all — of those picks to help rebuild in the post-Rodgers era.

Rodgers to the Broncos makes sense on paper, but NFL insider Jordan Schultz reported earlier in the week that the prize could be even bigger for Denver in a potential trade.

Schultz said both Adams and Rodgers “would love to team up” in Denver.

“I’m also told that Adams, given his friendship with Rodgers, has grown increasingly frustrated with the Packers’ mistreatment of one of his best friends,” he reported.

At the time, Schultz called Hackett potentially ending up in Denver the “sweetener” for the deal because Hackett does have a good relationship with both players.

In fact, Rodgers recently waxed poetic about Hackett on The Pat McAfee Show.

“He’s a great coach. I love spending time with him,” Rodgers said, at the time discussing Hackett getting interview opportunities. “He’s a fantastic teacher. He’s incredible in front of the room, and I’m really happy for him.”

The sweetener is now in place for Denver.

Hackett can become an instant hero for the Broncos

Nathaniel Hackett, Green Bay Packers, now head coach of the Denver Broncos
Green Bay Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett works at home | Amy Osol for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Things will change for Hackett now that he’s in the big chair somewhere else. He left Green Bay on terrific terms and came highly recommended by his former employers, but the Packers aren’t going to hand Hackett two of their best players just because they like him.

It has been previously reported that Green Bay’s No. 1 offseason priority is bringing Rodgers back, and as far as the plan for Adams is concerned, the Packers could exercise the franchise tag. That would keep him off the market for one more season and give them the opportunity to try to solve their salary-cap woes.

That could lead to an ugly situation in Green Bay, though, especially if Adams no longer wants to play for the Packers. He and Rodgers aren’t explicitly a package deal, but Adams’ success is in large part due to Rodgers being his quarterback since he entered the league in 2014. One would imagine he’d much prefer to catch passes from Rodgers than Jordan Love.

LaFleur and the Packers want to do everything they can to bring the band back together, but they likely don’t have the money to do so. Hackett knows that. He knows the inner workings in Green Bay better than any other outside source at this point. He knows the Packers’ strengths and weaknesses. He also likely knows as hard as it will be, Green Bay’s best path forward may be moving off the big contracts of Rodgers and Adams and doing everything it can to rebuild around a strong defense and Love.

It won’t be easy for Green Bay, but ripping the Band-Aid off is the easiest way to avoid a much bigger rebuild in the future.

Hackett can become Denver’s hero before he even coaches a snap, and he can do that by convincing the Packers that it will be much better to retool than to rebuild. He has an opportunity to use his connections and friendships at 1265 Lombardi Ave to broker a deal between the two franchises.

On one side, their old friend would get a franchise quarterback and his favorite wide receiver to help kick-start his tenure at the new job. Many people think the Broncos are simply a quarterback away from being Super Bowl contenders yet again. With Rodgers and Adams in the fold, Hackett would have a chance to play that scenario out as a first-time head coach.

As mentioned, Green Bay wouldn’t be doing this as a favor, though.

The Packers would be unloading Rodgers’ contract, as well as any off-field headaches he’ll be bringing with him to Denver. You can bet he’ll still make his weekly appearances with McAfee and probably go on a few more rants.

A sign-and-trade with Adams would also keep the ridiculous amount of money he wants to be paid off Green Bay’s books, and the assets Rodgers and Adams would garner in return from Denver should be more than enough to help the Packers re-tool.

It’s a win-win. The Packers would move on to a new era, which has been the plan ever since they traded up to select Love in the first round of the 2020 draft. Denver would get a new coach, a new quarterback, and arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL.

In the process, Hackett would become a legend in Colorado.

Stats courtesy of ESPN and Pro Football Reference. 

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