Sources: Ejiro Evero out as Broncos' DC amid outside interest

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- New Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton has been on the job just a few days, but as he continues to fill out his coaching staff, he and the team have agreed to let defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero out of his contract to pursue other jobs, sources confirmed to ESPN on Sunday.

Team and league sources said Evero, who had two years remaining on his contract and has interviewed for multiple head-coaching jobs, discussed his Broncos options with Payton last week. Following those discussions, Evero was notified that the Broncos would let him out of the remainder of his contract, sources said.

The Minnesota Vikings, who have interviewed four candidates for their defensive coordinator job, have not filled the position in hopes of interviewing Evero, who served on the Los Angeles Rams' staff with Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell. Because it would be a lateral move for Evero, the Broncos needed to either grant permission for the interview or let Evero out of his contract for the Vikings to talk to him.

Evero has interviewed for the head-coaching jobs with the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts.

Strength and conditioning coach Loren Landow, whose suburban Denver training complex had been a destination for dozens of NFL players for well over a decade before he was hired by the Broncos in 2018, will also be leaving the team, sources confirmed.

The Broncos had 22 players finish the season on injured reserve, and owner/CEO Greg Penner had essentially put the strength and conditioning staff and training staff on notice when Nathaniel Hackett was fired as coach in December with a promise to do a "deep dive in our entire wellness, our training, our strength and conditioning, our nutrition."

Penner said every candidate interviewed for the head-coaching job would be asked about his plans on strength and conditioning as well as injury recovery.

In addition to Evero, Payton has interviewed Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers coach Brian Flores and Seattle Seahawks associate head coach Sean Desai for the defensive coordinator job, sources confirmed.

Despite injuries all over the roster, the Broncos finished in the league's top 10 in total defense and rushing defense. For one stretch during the season's second half, the Broncos had the top-scoring defense in the NFL, but they fell out of the top 10 after a 51-14 loss to the Rams on Christmas Day, the day before Hackett was fired.

After the Broncos' season-ending win over the Los Angeles Chargers, safety Justin Simmons said of Evero, "I'm just so thankful for him and his leadership. ... I could be up here for hours just talking about how amazing of a coach and a man he is."

Payton signed his five-year contract Friday and will be formally introduced Monday morning.