Russell Wilson‘s first Broncos season sounded alarm bells about his future, calling into question the team’s decision to trade for the nine-time Pro Bowler and hand him a five-year extension before the season began. Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett never seemed a match, but even as the 34-year-old quarterback fared better upon the latter’s dismissal, the veteran passer’s presence certainly affects the Broncos’ coaching search.
But Sean Payton may still view Wilson as an asset. The high-profile coaching free agent would sign off on working with Wilson, according to the Washington Post’s Mark Maske (on Twitter). The Broncos are believed to be the early frontrunners for Payton, Maske adds.
The Saints have granted permission for the Broncos, Cardinals and Texans to speak with Payton. But Payton’s view of this year’s available jobs remains unclear. He is set to meet with the Broncos on Tuesday in Los Angeles; no other known meetings have been scheduled. Payton, 58, is believed to be intrigued by the Broncos’ new ownership group, Maske adds. Fronted by Rob Walton and new CEO Greg Penner, this contingent is running the Broncos’ latest HC search — with help from GM George Paton — and has a clear advantage when it comes to dollars.
Wilson finished this season 27th in QBR, plunging off a cliff from even an injury-marred 2021 season (10th). One of the NFL’s top quarterbacks from this era has either seen his prime come to a screeching halt much earlier than expected, or the Hackett union and the offense he designed for Wilson (with input from Wilson) caused considerable damage. Wilson put the Saints on his radar during the 2021 offseason, listing New Orleans (along with the Chicago, Dallas and Las Vegas) as an acceptable trade destination. The Seahawks did not trade Wilson in 2021, pulling the trigger in 2022 for a compensation package fronted by two first-round picks. Considering how poorly Wilson’s 2022 season went, Payton selecting the Broncos would be a bit of a gamble. For Wilson, however, the longtime Saints HC’s arrival could be tremendously beneficial.
Payton viewing Wilson as an asset comes shortly after a report surfaced indicating the quarterback might deter the former Super Bowl-winning HC from picking the Broncos. Some around the league are skeptical Payton would sign up to fix Wilson, but the Broncos are likely to offer their next coach the chance to have final say on personnel matters. Denver’s next HC will report to Penner and not Paton, a change from the team’s 2021 and ’22 setup. While such an arrangement can lead to incongruity, it should appeal to HC candidates.
The Broncos are believed to have Payton as their 1-A candidate, with Jim Harbaugh at 1-B. Michigan, however, is — as should be expected, given Harbaugh’s track record — trying to retain its longtime HC. Michigan president Santa Ono confirmed (via Twitter) conversations with Harbaugh are ongoing. Harbaugh then offered some words of support for Ono’s overtures, opening the door to a scenario where the NFL interest — including a Monday Broncos interview — leads to another new Harbaugh contract with Michigan.
Payton could also opt to pass on this year’s collection of jobs and wait for 2024. The Chargers and Cowboys’ wild-card games figure to be of interest as well. Both were on Payton’s early list of possible destinations — well before the Wilson-Hackett partnership created the Denver opening. This Broncos job could have similar appeal at this point, with Maske adding (via Twitter) Payton may still hold the Denver gig in high regard even if the Dallas position opened up.
17 comments on “Sean Payton Prefers Broncos Job To Other HC Vacancies?”
“Intrigued by the Broncos’ new ownership group.” Translation: Big $$$$
If you believe you can fix Wilson, it is an appealing job. You can’t just fix him to ok tho, that contract only works if he’s playing great.
Payton lives in the Dallas area.
Walton is several times richer than Jones, doesn’t pretend to be GM, and has never told reporters what the offense should do.
No he doesn’t. He lives in New Orleans. It’s been over 10 years since Payton lived in Dallas. His kids were in Dallas with his ex wife. But, they’re adults now living in Florida.
Several sources say he moved to Los Angeles area when he took broadcasting job.
Out of all the teams mentioned he should wait to see what happens with the Chargers this weekend. They shouldn’t, but if they lose this weekend and fire their coach, that is the best job available. By far.
Agree in theory for Chargers but their defense was swiss cheese with injuries, its possible they give one more year.
however on a different front it would be a funny story as Payton brought Brees to Saints from the Chargers and now goes from the Saints to Chargers to coach.
I would agree, except I would not disagree with their firing of Brandon Staley in any circumstance other than Super Bowl win. It seems that the Chargers win in spite of Staley, and his most indefensible trait is his rigidity as a coach. Staley seems to have incredible difficulty adapting or changing unsuccessful approaches to problems. Most glaringly, the Chargers’ defense has been very underwhelming for some time, despite a lot of talent at multiple areas. The roster as a whole is one of the most talented in the entire league, when you begin to compare it. Staley’s stubbornness, if appearances are correct, is cumbersome to the Chargers’ ability to take the next step to being an elite rather than just a very good team.
What is New Orleans expecting back for Payton? I’m not sure he’s worth a first. He had one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and only went to 1 Super Bowl. Belinchek had the best quarterback (similar numbers) and won 6 and went to others
They’re wanting a 1st plus more. Apparently, Denver has already agreed to the package. I’m guessing the plus more is probably a 3rd and/or a player.
Similar numbers but you got to look at those Pats Defenses vs what NOLA usually had. I think that’s what makes Denver appealing. Fixable (maybe) QB with some good offensive pieces with a solid to potentially above average defense.
Exactly. Payton may not have been the cog for NOLA. I think Payton is overrated as a coach. He’s good, but he’s not worth a 1st round pick
Payton had a lot to do with Brees having such a great career.
SP in AZ would be a GameChanger but prolly not realistic …Cowboys role if it were available after the WC game would come with Jerrah, his kids and all that entails tho
Peyton has won the same number of Super Bowls as Mike McCarthy. He’s not an upgrade
After years on the sideline, considering that he did more for the team than any player – maybe he’s right – Peyton wants to paid like a star QB hence, his interest in Walton ownership.
Peyton was in charge during Bountygate. That alone would disqualify him for me. And hopefully for the Waltons.