Pees heading west keeps Matt Patricia and Pepper Johnson out of the picture in Denver, meaning those two -- more so Patricia -- remain the in-house candidates and likely the strongest candidates, period.
If Belichick wants to provide a stronger voice to his staff, which is an issue he said he is aware of, Nolan would have provided that, having been a head coach in San Francisco who also has familiarity with the 3-4. However, an ESPN report has Nolan close to taking over the vacant defensive coordinator position in Miami, so he will not be involved in New England's search.
In Denver, Pees would inherit a defense that Nolan helped rank seventh in total defense. Under Pees, the Patriots ranked 11th in total defense this year. Pees worked alongside Denver head coach Josh McDaniels on Bill Belichick's staff as defensive coordinator when McDaniels was the offensive coordinator.
Pees would become the fifth prominent former Belichick acolyte in the AFC West, joining McDaniels, Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, Chiefs defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, and Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli.