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Wade Phillips could become a coaching free agent soon

Denver Broncos v Houston Texans

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 22: Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips of the Denver Broncos waits on the field before their game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on August 22, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

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The Broncos fell back to Earth after winning a Super Bowl title, but they may have to deal with a bigger veteran loss than the retirement of Peyton Manning this offseason.

Via Tom Pelissero of USA Today, Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ deal is set to expire at the end of the season, and that could have a huge impact on a defense which has been among the league’s best.

Phillips signed a two-year contract with the Broncos in January 2015 to become Gary Kubiak’s coordinator again (the two worked together in Houston), and he hasn’t disappointed. Their defense was the main reason they won last year’s title, surviving what was by his own standards a subpar year from Manning.

There was apparently some discussion of a contract extension with the Broncos after the Super Bowl, but as with many negotiations with Broncos boss John Elway, it never turned into a deal. There’s still time, but the clock is clearly ticking.

Phillips has 46 years of coaching experience and is about to turn 70, but has shown no signs of slowing down. And if the Broncos don’t want him, teams will certainly line up to get to him, since there’s never a shortage teams who want to find a young offensive-minded head coach — the kind Phillips would lend an immediate gravity to.