FEBRUARY 3: The Broncos and Payton have sorted through the details and have agreed on his contract. Payton signed a five-year deal Friday, Schefter tweets. The reported salary is believed to be between $17-$21MM on average.
JANUARY 31: Although the Broncos’ head coaching search had experienced some turbulence, the franchise will come away with its initial frontrunner. The Broncos and Saints are finalizing terms on a trade for Sean Payton‘s rights, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
Payton is expected to become the Broncos’ next head coach. This will be the former Saints leader’s second opportunity as an NFL HC. While Payton had been connected to staying at FOX for another year and waiting for the 2024 hiring period, the Broncos have changed his mind.
This blockbuster transaction will lead to the Saints receiving compensation for their 16-year head coach, who stepped down after the 2021 season. The teams have finalized the compensation, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter). The Broncos gave the Saints a choice of two trade packages, Schefter adds. The Saints could have received the Broncos’ 2024 first-round pick and a 2023 fourth or a package that sends Denver’s 2023 first-rounder and 2024 second to New Orleans. The latter deal, which the Saints preferred, will also see Denver acquire New Orleans’ 2024 third-round pick (Twitter link).
As far as compensation goes, this is a significant haul. The Broncos join the Jets, Patriots and Buccaneers in agreeing to send first-round picks for coaches over the past 30 years. Payton interviewed with four of the five HC-needy teams this year but made the Broncos his first meeting. The Broncos will have a depleted 2023 draft arsenal, thanks to the deals for Payton and Russell Wilson. But Payton will become by far the franchise’s highest-profile HC since Mike Shanahan.
This process included twists and turns, including another on Tuesday. Previously linked to having DeMeco Ryans as a frontrunner, the Broncos may or may not have circled back to him again hours ago. The Broncos attempted to hire Ryans, who just accepted the Texans’ HC offer, earlier today, Rapoport adds (via Twitter). When Ryans declined, the Broncos agreed to part with significant draft capital for Payton. Schefter, however, refutes this story and adds the Broncos did not contact Ryans — the Houston frontrunner for a few days now — this week (Twitter link). Regardless, the team produced one of the more eventful HC searches in recent years.
Broncos CEO Greg Penner flew to Ann Arbor to meet with Jim Harbaugh, who had previously turned the Broncos down to stay at Michigan. Dan Quinn, who interviewed with the team in each of the past two Januarys, also backed out of Denver’s search last week. Evidently not big on taking “no” for an answer, the new Broncos ownership group ended up landing the coach who was long believed to be the favorite. This certainly proved quite the journey.
Payton, 59, was believed to be intrigued by both the new Broncos ownership contingent and the prospect of coaching Wilson. The latter had included the Saints on his initial list of acceptable trade destinations back in 2021. While the Seahawks did not end up trading Wilson that year, Payton will attach his career to the potential Hall of Fame passer on the heels of his worst NFL season.
Wilson reached out to Payton during the process, and while the former Super Bowl-winning HC was connected to the Cowboys and Chargers’ jobs months ago, he will pass on those potentially opening up down the line to accept the Broncos’ offer. Said offer is likely to be massive, given the leverage Payton possessed. Payton was connected to seeking a deal worth more than $20MM per year. That would put the FOX analyst on par with the league’s highest-paid coaches.
Reports pegged Payton as both being onboard with Denver’s Rob Walton-fronted ownership contingent while also potentially fearing a power struggle with one of the struggling team’s new owners. Payton made a point to directly refute the latter stance, and it should be expected he will have final say when it comes to the Broncos’ roster. GM George Paton had held that control from 2021-22, and while a phonetically challenging Payton-Paton partnership could still be in the works, the team’s new head coach is believed to want to bring some personnel staffers with him. Penner said both Paton and the team’s next HC will report directly to him. Tuesday’s hire stands to further diminish Paton’s power, though the rumored Broncos big swing happening represents a major development for a team that has whiffed on a few HCs in recent years.
Denver won Super Bowl 50 in Gary Kubiak‘s first season and went 9-7 in 2016, narrowly missing the playoffs. Citing health reasons, Kubiak stepped down after the ’16 season. That began a wayward course for the Broncos, who saw first-time HCs Vance Joseph, Vic Fangio and Nathaniel Hackett combine for six straight losing seasons. Hackett’s tenure, in particular, led to ignominy. Despite trading for Wilson, the Broncos plummeted to last place offensively and saw their HC struggle with game management and play-calling — eventually giving up both those responsibilities — before becoming the third HC since the 1970 merger to be fired before his first season ended. That led to the Broncos’ push for an experienced coaching option. They will end up with one of this era’s top play-callers.
Despite taking over a team that went 3-13 during a Hurricane Katrina-affected 2005 season, Payton led the Saints to the 2006 NFC championship game and finished his New Orleans run without a 10-loss season. The Saints signed Drew Brees in 2006, but the future Hall of Fame passer — who had gone through an inconsistent Chargers tenure — made immense strides under Payton. Prior to the Brees-Payton partnership, the Saints had won one playoff game in 39 years. Payton and Brees ballooned that total to 10, churning out top-10 offenses annually. The Bountygate scandal dinged Payton’s reputation for a bit, but his return to the Saints produced another run of playoff berths and a would-be Super Bowl LIII trip — one a historically controversial pass interference no-call ultimately denied.
In seeing Payton follow Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick and Jon Gruden as modern coaches traded for packages fronted by first-round picks, the Saints will hold a 2023 first-rounder — months after sending their own to the Eagles in a deal that helped them move up for Chris Olave. Longtime Saints GM Mickey Loomis played his Payton card well, asking for two first-round picks and collecting first- and second-rounders.
The Saints will obtain the 49ers’ first-round pick (No. 29 overall), one the Broncos acquired from the Dolphins in the Bradley Chubb trade. This will officially close the book on the most successful tenure in Saints history. New Orleans is keeping ex-Payton lieutenant Dennis Allen around for a second season, but the second-chance HC still has plenty to prove after a 7-10 season in charge.
Over the past two years, the Broncos will have given up three first-round picks, three seconds and a fifth (while getting back third- and fourth-rounders) to bring Wilson and Payton to town. The Broncos now do not have a pick until this year’s third round. Draft-wise, this has been a historically costly period for the AFC West franchise. Denver held a second-round pick in last year’s draft, thanks to the 2021 Von Miller trade, but now will face a tougher road to adding talent around Wilson this year.
Considering the team’s 2022 disaster, making a big move to salvage Wilson trumped concerns about draft capital. The gap between Payton’s accomplishments and the non-Harbaugh wing of this year’s Broncos search will lead to the explosive transaction, and the former NFC South sideline mainstay chose a franchise that has biannual games against Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert as the place for his second HC stay. For a second straight year, the Broncos will be one of the most-discussed teams leading up to the season.
60 comments on “Broncos Hire Sean Payton As Head Coach”
Lol Payton is going from HOF QB to a guy who looked like a HOF QB for his first 10 years, and people are gonna claim he’s a good coach. I can guarantee regardless of what’s sent to NO it’s too much. (wrote before terms came out)
Well, at least it’s over … for now
Sounds like Denver was running out of options…
And now, draft picks.
wonder if Russ is in the trade package 🙂
Probably wanted to wait for Chargers or Cowboys jobs to come open next year possibly. But they threw that endless Walmart money at him…
I think the Chargers were a perfect for Payton. Perhaps they did not see any value if trading picks
No draft picks, no cap space, and a QB that everyone on the team hates. What could go wrong?
has the locker room talk been in local news? I only heard one small thing if I recall but I am not in Denver area.
Heck yeah. Dude, I’m stoked. If it wasn’t Payton it was looking pretty steep in terms of tenured offensive-minded HC availabilities.
I’m curious what the actual terms will be once the smoke clears.
I cannot believe that Payton would choose Denver to resume his career. They’re bad and moving towards awful, and having a wealthy owner might help eventually but not anytime soon.
I wouldn’t be surprised if it helped make him the highest paid NFL coach of all time, though.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re right, so maybe he’s smarter than the rest of us after all.
he was likely making good money at Fox so probably only would have left to be #1.
I’m pretty sure Walton owns individual cars worth more than any three coaches make in a year combined, so they can certainly do it without blinking.
Exactly, Monkey’s Uncle. Payton could sign a massive long term deal, then get fired after two years and rake the money in.
It’s always about the money.
Except when they say “it isn’t about the money”… then it’s REALLY about the money.
I still chuckle at that ridiculous speech Payton made saying it was about the journey and relationships…not money or trophies.
Now, what does Payton do with Wilson ? Wilson does not fit the type of offense that Payton runs and ran in New Orleans. It’s possible that the Broncos could trade Wilson to the Saints for either Hill or Winston and a draft pick. That would get a draft pick back that they lost getting Payton
huh? Hill is not a full time QB and as a team who just spent a 1st and a ton of money on a coach and a ton of draft capital on Russ, I doubt you trade for Jameis after a season where he was hurt most of it.
That’s not possible, literally at all. The saints couldn’t eat that money, nearly no team could…
I’m pretty sure cap ramifications make it extremely difficult to get rid of Wilson until after 2024 and basically impossible now, and the Saints can’t afford a big chunk of his salary anyway.
The saints are 58 million over the cap. Explain how that trade is going to happen.
@peter, Wilson is more of a pocket passer who runs if needed, and will only become more of a pocket as he ages. Do you think Payton would sign with Denver if he didn’t think a QB that is impossible to trade would not fit his offense? He chose to sign on in Denver and therefore by default he is choosing Wilson as QB.
peterdipersio06 • 4 days ago
Now, what does Payton do with Wilson ?
Trade him to Seattle for two #1s, two #2s, and Fant. See, problem solved!
should probably clarify that 1st is from the 9ers and is 30th overall
With San Francisco losing the NFC Championship game, that first-round pick is 29th overall.
Saints could choose between a 1st & 4th or a 1st and 2nd round picks? Glad they didn’t foul that up.
I think the idea was this year’s first is late (30) vs next year’s could be early if the Broncos suck again.
I’d have picked the other option. It’s basically a bet against Denver making the AFC championship game, which should be pretty safe unless they know something I don’t.
Ignore my other comment. The Saints don’t have their own 1st this year and wanted to fill the gap.
I think gaining the 2nd rounder is the more appealing aspect. I would have waited until next year to get two 1st, if it were me. Could have ammo to move up if need be. The 4th this year, you prolly could have packaged or just traded.
I wish the Steelers would pull a trade like this for Tomlin.
Steelers really surprised me this year. I figured they’d be good for 5 wins even before they started 2-6. is it just seeing the same person for so long that you’d want a change? I think he is a solid coach but his press conferences are amazing
Payton is going to regret this decision as Denver is going to be a bad team with Russ as the helm for the next couple of years. He likely has plenty of $$$ so why not wait another year for a much better opportunity. Guess greed got in the way of common sense.
Man Payton has got to tell them they aren’t winning for a few years. They need some draft picks to lower their cap and improve the team. One losing season will turn into 3-4 min. Denver made the right choice not sure if Payton did.
He is probably going to lap the other coaches by a good amount in pay. He will need the money for headache meds and shrink sessions.
This legit shocked me. Maybe Payton sees something in RW that not many else see right now, but if not, no top-tier QB and no draft capital of note for several years… plus, of course, the NFL has a real cap so they can’t Steve Cohen their way out of this mess. Doesn’t seem like much of a recipe for success; if Payton can turn Denver into winners, there will obviously be no doubt about his abilities as a coach.
If Sean Payton keeps Ejiro Evero as a DC (unlikely but…) he’ll most likely be in the running for an HC position next year if they can play D like they did this year.
I don’t (and also as of yet actually can’t) bet, but if I could and did I would bet a lot on DEN not clearing .500 next year.
Between the increase in the cap this year and the inevitable cuts of guys like Glasgow, Darby, etc…cap space will be fine. Plus…rich owners can offer up front bonus money that doesn’t affect cap space
How doesn’t bonus money effect cap space?
Poor choice of words. I meant they can offer larger bonuses to be spread out and front load guaranteed money
Wonderful, now there’s Andy and Payton to deal with as the Spanos family dropped the ball once again.
Opportunities to be great don’t appear on the doorstep often and to ignore them time after time because you think like a spinster defines ‘pathetic’. Yea I like Staley but his defense gave up breakaway plays on defense regularly, big runs or long pass plays. I just don’t get it!
Still, it’s my team and I’ll hope – like thousands (?) of other fans – for good fortune ahead BUT…..
Maybe I’m in the minority but Payton is such an overrated head coach. One Super Bowl with a HoF qb. Not to mention how he ran for the hills and left the Saint high and dry once Brees left. Don’t expect much from the broncos any time soon, especially as long as Mahomes is in the division
Not sure you could say he left them high and dry. If it was a secret was one of the worst kept secret in the world of secrets. There is also this Charger guy Payton has to worry about. Who knows who the faiders get at QB.
This talking point is silly to me. 13 coaches have more than one super bowl win and most of them are dead. Reid, Dungy, Cowher, Tomlin, and Harbaugh all only have one. It’s hard to win even that—especially when your coaching career overlaps with the Brady-Belichick juggernaut. Payton’s no messiah, but he’s a great coach.
Yeah, my response to all this troll-toned nay-saying is “what would you suggest?”
Payton is head and shoulders more competent and hard-lined enough to get the most out of Russell Wilson than any possible alternative.
Yikes what are you doing Broncos? I don’t see the logic in trading a bunch of picks for a coach that’ll hopefully fix the QB you just traded a bunch of picks for
Imo he’s making a mistake going to Denver. Working under rookie owners will not go over very well, and having a QB who’s extremely selfish and who’s play has regressed will backfire on him. He was better suited sitting out another year and maybe wait and see if better jobs become available. Cowboys, Chargers to name a few.
If Payton unretired and broncos balked at the asking price as did every other team. Would the saints still have to pay him? If he did not find another job.
Wishful thinking he takes Carmichael as his offensive coordinator. I wonder if he’ll try for some of our other coaches.
Stand by what I wrote yesterday…..
Broncos need to go through a rebuild – starting with the lines. If it means trading star players for youngsters and draft choices – do it! They’re not going to the Super Bowl in the next 2 years.
Sean Payton gives them the cred with the fans to do so. But the problem is that he can’t build a support offense to work with Wilson, then swing it to more of teh sort a QB type he prefers is brought in 2-3 years later. This happened with the Browns where Jacoby Brissett was effective running coach’s Kevin Stefanski’s offense, but they laid out 11 zillion dollars to bring in Deshaun Watson and he couldn’t play in that offense.
The Broncos keep giving up premium draft picks for guys who have already won and don’t care about winning anymore and just want to cash in and stroke their own egos.
Good luck with that.
3 Golden Tickets Remain.
20 m a year jesus h
Got paid, now he can ruin his legacy in stellar threads.
I figure that Wilson is about the equivalent of Derek Carr, If the Raiders got even half of what Seattle got for Wilson, I’ll be partying all night.