Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

While Vic Fangio's future in Denver remains the subject of considerable conversation around the NFL, if the Broncos were to move on from their head coach, he would have no shortage of options continuing his career as a defensive coordinator.

Fangio is high atop the wish list of several of the top head coaching candidates who are about to start making the rounds for interviews, league sources said, and is also coveted by several teams who do not anticipate making a head coaching change but would like to upgrade at their defensive coordinator spot if possible. If several top defensive coordinators like Todd Bowles (Buccaneers) or Dan Quinn (Cowboys) end up getting head coaching jobs, that alone creates demand for coordinators, and Fangio's reputation as a master tactician on that side of the ball would lead to competition for his services.

The Broncos have struggled to get back above .500 under Fangio, and there have been several bumps in the road as he transitioned to his first head coaching opportunity late in his career. His gruff demeanor and old-school sensibilities have not always been a great fit. Still, his former underlings continue to get opportunities as coordinators and head coaches, the Broncos defense showed well for the most part despite some adversity, and his acumen coaching that side of the ball earns accolades.

First-time head coaches who come from an offensive background are particularly drawn to Fangio because he can essentially run half of the team for them and allow them to focus on cultivating relationships throughout the team and developing the quarterback position. Fangio having head coaching experience in the NFL -- and being able to relate to much of what a first-time head coach will be going through -- further adds to his resume, with some anticipating he will immediately become among the highest-paid coordinators in the NFL if his tenure in Denver is up.

The Broncos hired first-time general manager George Paton out of the Vikings organization a year ago, and he will be assessing the entire organization at the end of the season and conferring with upper management about recommendations for the staff. While it has become increasingly likely that the Broncos are sold -- perhaps as early as March -- Paton and Broncos brass will be making any decisions about hiring immediately after the season, according to sources.