After four seasons in Denver, John Fox is out as the Broncos head coach, the team announced on Monday.

The move comes less than 24 hours after Denver's season ended in a 24-13 divisional round playoff loss to the Colts

Broncos general manager John Elway said that the decision to part ways was mutual. 

"John Fox and I met for more than an hour on Monday afternoon to discuss the 2014 season and our goals for the future," Elway said in a statement. "During our open and candid conversation, it became clear that it was best for both the Denver Broncos and Coach Fox to move on and make this change."

According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, Fox's relationship with Broncos general manager John Elway had been fraying. The ultra-competitive Elway clearly wasn't pleased to see the Broncos 2014 season end without a playoff win. 

"I had a productive visit with John Elway [on Monday] afternoon," Fox said in a statement. "After this discussion, John and I mutually agreed that the timing was right for this decision."

Fox leaves Denver with a 46-18 mark over four seasons. It's not clear how much money the Broncos will owe Fox, but he did still have two years left on a three-year, $16.5 million extension he signed in April 2014. 

With Fox officially out, here's three things you need to know. 

1. What's next for Fox? Fox immediately becomes a very attractive candidate for any job opening, including the one in Chicago where former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi is serving as a consultant.

John Fox had a 46-18 record with the Broncos.
John Fox had a 46-18 record with the Broncos. (USATSI)

Fox served as the Giants defensive coordinator for four seasons (1997-2001) and Accorsi was in New York for three of those (1998-2001).

What makes Fox an attractive candidate is his ability to win early. After being hired by Carolina in 2002, Fox took a Panthers team that went 1-15 in 2001 and molded it into a 7-9 team. By 2003, Fox had the Panthers in the Super Bowl.

In Denver, Fox took the Broncos to the playoffs in 2011, his first year with the team. That 2011 team might have represented Fox's most impressive season in Denver. With Tim Tebow at quarterback, the Broncos made the playoffs and upset a heavily-favored Steelers team in the wild-card round.

However, Fox's lack of postseason success with Peyton Manning is what likely cost him his job in Denver. Fox and Manning went to the playoffs three times together, including last year's Super Bowl loss, but the other two appearances were one-and-done showings for the Broncos. 

Overall, Fox was 2-3 in the postseason with Manning as his quarterback and 3-4 overall with the Broncos. 

Denver finished the 2014 season with a record of 12-4, meaning Fox will be the first coach since Tony Dungy (Colts) not to return to a team after a 12-win season. 

2. Who will replace Fox in Denver? The list of possible replacements in Denver starts with offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Gase has already interviewed for several open coaching jobs and it's likely that the only way the Broncos will be able to keep him is if they give him the top job. Hiring Gase may also be enough to ensure that Peyton Manning returns for another season. 

Another name to watch for is Mike Shanahan. Shanahan was the Broncos coach from 1995-2008 and he's very familiar with Elway. The Broncos last two Super Bowl wins came with Elway at quarterback and Shanahan as coach.

Elway's swan song came with Shanahan and Elway eventually retired after winning back-to-back Super Bowls.

It's not far-fetched to think that Elway may be envisioning a similar ending to Peyton Manning's career. 

Although Shanahan and Elway have had their differences, Elway was very complimentary of Shanahan before the Broncos played Shanahan's Redskins in 2013. 

"He’s a very knowledgeable football coach -- very smart, and very intelligent," Elway said. "He does a great job of putting the players -- especially offensively -- putting the players in the best position to win. He really molds his offense around the strengths of the people he has playing on the offensive side. That’s why I appreciated playing for him because he did what I did best. He put me in the best situations I could be in to be successful and for the team to be successful. He has that ability to adjust and I think players appreciate that."

Just because Elway recently praised Shanahan, doesn't mean the Broncos will hire him though. La Canfora believes it's highly unlikely that either Gase or Shanahan will be the team's next coach. 

That could open the door to an outside candidate, like Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. According to, the Broncos would like to interview him, but for that to happen, Denver will have to wait until at least after the NFC title game. 

Two other candidates whose names could pop up are Jack Del Rio and Gary Kubiak. Del Rio, the Broncos defensive coordinator, has already interviewed with the Raiders. If Del Rio's not hired as head coach, he likely won't be returning to Denver next season.  

As for Kubiak, the Ravens offensive coordinator said on Sunday that he would be staying in Baltimore rather than pursing any head-coaching opportunities. However, Kubiak said that before Fox was fired. 

Despite the fact the Kubiak played for the Broncos (1983-91) and was on the team's coaching staff from 1995-2005, La Canfora doesn't see him making the move to Denver. 

3. What does this mean for Peyton Manning? It's hard to say what Manning's plans are, but it seems like he'd definitely come back for the right coach. In a postgame interview after losing to the Colts, Manning specifically mentioned the possibility of a coach or two leaving.

"I can't answer every what-if circumstance. What if you're not as healthy? What if certain coaches leave?" Manning said when asked if he'd return in 2015, via the Denver Post. "I can't answer every what-if situation. I think I'll have to take some time to see how I feel, see how I feel physically."

It's possible that Manning directly or indirectly let Elway know that he'd be leaning toward retirement if Fox returned in 2015. Remember, Fox was in Denver before Manning arrived, so Manning was kind of stuck with him. 

With Fox out, Manning and Elway could potentially handpick a coach. 

That being said, even if Manning does come back, there's still a lot of questions in Denver heading into next season. Unless they're re-signed, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and Wes Welker will all be free agents in March.

If the Broncos can't reload their offense, that could sway Manning not to return.