According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero had “mutual interest” to land with the Green Bay Packers — had he become available during the Packers’ defensive coordinator search. This shouldn’t be that big of a surprise because Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur interviewed Evero for the team’s defensive coordinator opening in 2021. Evero worked with the Packers in 2016 under head Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
A week ago, before the Packers eventually hired then-Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley for their defensive coordinator vacancy, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that Evero was “near or at the top of” the Packers’ list of defensive coordinator candidates.
Evero did not end up ever becoming available, though, as the Panthers elected to keep their defensive coordinator, despite switching over head coaches. During his opening press conference, new Panthers head coach Dave Canales referenced working with Evero. On Monday, Carolina officially announced that Evero will remain with the team through the 2024 season.
Evero was allowed to take head coaching interviews this offseason, but the Panthers — who at the time were without a head coach — were able to block interview requests for Evero making a lateral move as someone else’s defensive coordinator.
This is only the newest twist to the drama surrounding the Packers’ defensive coordinator search. On Friday, NFL reporter Aaron Wilson claimed that the team initially offered Baltimore Ravens inside linebackers coach Zach Orr their defensive coordinator job before pivoting to Hafley. If we’re to believe all of this reporting at face value, the team never got a chance to offer one of their top candidates — Evero — while another — Orr — turned them down, leading to the organization hiring their third option — Hafley — from the college ranks.
How much of that is true is uncertain. LaFleur has yet to talk to the press since the hiring of Hafley. When general manager Brian Gutekunst held his end-of-the-year press conference last week, he mentioned that he had just come off of a Senior Bowl trip, despite the Hafley hire occurring just the day prior, and that LaFleur was much more involved in the process than Gutekunst was.