The Denver Broncos finalized a deal Tuesday to acquire their next head coach from the New Orleans Saints, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported, per sources.
New Orleans will receive a 2023 first-round pick (No. 29 overall) and a 2024 second-round selection from Denver in exchange for Payton’s services, as well as a future third-round pick, Rapoport added. Payton was still under contract with the Saints despite stepping down after the 2021 season, necessitating a complicated trade between New Orleans and any potential suitor — and there were a few.
Payton, who spent this season as a studio analyst for Fox Sports, interviewed with four of the five teams with head coaching vacancies (Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans).
For one, it’s certainly refreshing to see a new owner with deep pockets spend lavishly on a coach. In a salary-capped league, this is where we see the difference between a committed owner and one who is simply content existing. New head coaching salaries declined a bit last year, according to industry sources, showing a league-wide interest in saving money at that position in particular. Payton, who makes about five times as much per season as the average first-time head coach, is anything but a bargain.
The Broncos tried to hire DeMeco Ryans instead of Sean Payton, per report
The new head coaching hires for the Texans and Broncos were announced at the exact same time on Tuesday afternoon. The Texans landed 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, and the Broncos came away with Payton. Denver reportedly wanted Ryans, but he didn’t want them.
Perhaps the biggest task facing Payton in Denver is repairing a Broncos’ offense that struggled a season ago. Despite their huge move to acquire quarterback Russell Wilson last season — and then sign him to a five-year contract extension with $165 million guaranteed — the Broncos’ passing game sputtered this season as Denver finished with a 5-12 record, firing first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett during the season.
Meanwhile, Payton, after a year and six days away from football, is back in the game in Denver, tasked again with reigniting a quarterback’s career and a franchise’s fate.
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