There's No Guarantee Wade Phillips Returns As Denver's Defensive Coordinator In 2017 & Beyond

Will Wade Phillips return as Denver's defensive coordinator in 2017 and beyond?

By the time the 2017 regular season rolls around, Wade Phillips will be 70 years old. After coaching in the NFL for the better part of four decades, Phillips' career finally culminated in the Denver Broncos dismantling of the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.

The Son of Bum got his ring. What's left to coach for? 

For many coaches, and perhaps Phillips, football is all they know. And it's all they want to do. Some coaches will go until the wheels fall off. It remains to be seen whether Phillips is one of those guys, or after reaching the pinnacle of achievement, he's ready to hang it up and enjoy retirement. 

Phillips' contract with the Broncos expires at the end of this season. He signed a two-year deal back in early 2015, inheriting a ridiculously deep and talented defense. 

He took the tools he was given and shaped the Broncos defense into one of the NFL's all-time units. The Broncos finished 2015 as the No. 1 defense and atop the league in sacks. 

Without Wade Phillips, the Broncos would not have that third Lombardi Trophy sitting in the case at Dove Valley. The irony is that Phillips wasn't Gary Kubiak's first choice for defensive coordinator, as he set about building his staff in the days following his getting hired by John Elway to be Denver's head coach. 

Vance Joseph was Kubiak's first candidate, but as Cincinnati's defensive backs coach, the Bengals barred him from interviewing and he ended up taking a job with Adam Gase in Miami a year later. Denver turned to Phillips and the rest is history. 

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Kubiak spoke to Phillips' future with the team on Friday, following practice. 

“We think the world of Wade," Kubiak said. "Everybody knows the job that Wade has done. Those are things that will be addressed after we get through this week as we head into the offseason. Wade is a tremendous person [and] a tremendous football coach.”

To a man, Denver's defensive players see it as a no-brainer bringing Phillips back. First, however, Phillips has to want to return to coaching. And he probably does. 

However, there will be a negotiation. In such a discussion, Phillips certainly would hold a position of strength, considering his track record. 

But when two sides enter a negotiation, there's no way to say for certain how it'll turn out. The reality is the Broncos still have most of the pieces still in place from their Championship defense. 

Elway knows that. 2016 might not have shaken out the way he wanted, but Denver's front office czar certainly knows the clock is ticking on maximizing the time this defense has left together. 

If Elway wants to get the most out of the defensive personnel currently on the roster, Wade Phillips remains the best man for the job. Broncos fans can only hope that the Son of Bum wants to return to Denver as badly as they, and the players, want him to. 

Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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