The Denver Broncos are prepared to relieve head coach Vance Joseph of his duties, league sources said, and had been hopeful of interviewing Ravens coach John Harbaugh if he became available. Joseph was nearly fired after 2017, his first season as Denver's coach, and at this point the Broncos don't plan to bring him back for 2019.

Broncos executive Gary Kubiak, who is very close with general manager John Elway and has a growing role in the team's front office, worked with Harbaugh in Baltimore as his offensive coordinator and is a champion of the coach. Kubiak and Harbaugh have a strong relationship from their time together and sources said Kubiak has let others in the Broncos organization know his opinion of Harbaugh as a head coach, leader and game-day manager.

Harbaugh will be the most coveted head coach on the market if he is not back in Baltimore for the 2019 season; the Ravens released a statement on Friday night saying they want Harbaugh to coach the next season, but sources said they have not had any actual negotiations to this point and some rival execs are skeptical about whether the team would actually enter a situation where Harbaugh coached as a lame duck in 2019 and then could depart in 2020 as a free agent.

Harbaugh has just one year left on his deal and will not be doing any short-team extensions with the Ravens, as we first reported in Week 10. Baltimore has made no attempts to extend his contract at this point and owner Steve Bisciotti has already promoted Eric DeCosta to general manager for 2019 with Ozzie Newsome retiring. Whether or not he can sufficiently re-recruit Harbaugh remains to be seen -- the specter of coaching out a lame-duck year in 2019 and then departing in 2020 would be less than ideal for the Ravens -- and other NFL teams are waiting to see how that situation resolves itself next month.

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Elway has had difficulty making any arrangement with a head coach last more than a few years. He has gone through John Fox, Kubiak and now Joseph since the end of the 2014 season. Kubiak originally retired due to health issues, but has become a well-respected personnel executive since re-inventing himself, and with Denver's previous drafts and free-agent signings lagging, he is someone Elway has increasingly relied upon. Kubiak could be a vital cog in wooing Harbaugh, should he leave the Ravens, and the Broncos will be among a deep pool of teams seeking to interview him if that happens.

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