Latavius Murray

RB Latavius Murray Aiming To Play In 2024, Open To Bills Reunion

Reaching a verbal agreement during Day 3 of the draft last year, Latavius Murray joined the Bills last offseason in lieu of the team selecting a depth running back. That deal provided the veteran with a rotational role for the 2023 campaign, but he remains unsigned deep into free agency.

Murray recently revealed he traveled to Colombia to undergo stem cell treatments as he aims to take part in a 12th season in the NFL. The 34-year-old managed to suit up for 16 regular season contests and both of the team’s playoff games during his Bills stint, but the treatment could help him prepare for another campaign with Buffalo or another new team.

“You do the IV stem cells and then you get the injections within the joints or wherever you want to have the injections,” Murray said, via Donna Ditota of (subscription required). “Essentially the IV is supposed to still penetrate into the parts of your body that are sore; the IV does overall health. But then the localized injections are for the areas that you want to specifically treat.”

Murray – who has played between 13 and 16 games each year in his career so far – was used sparingly during his time in Buffalo. The Central Florida product received 70 carries and he recorded 300 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Murray chipped in with 119 scoreless receiving yards in the regular season before making another five catches during the playoffs. If he were to re-sign with the Bills, a similar role would likely await him.

Buffalo’s shift in focus to the ground game after Joe Brady took over as offensive coordinator led to a heavy workload for James Cook. The latter is positioned to remain Buffalo’s lead back for the foreseeable future, and the team also re-signed Ty Johnson this offseason. Murray would thus compete for playing time with Johnson and any rookies Buffalo were to add in next week’s draft if the team were to reciprocate his interest in a new deal.

The former sixth-rounder is no stranger to finding new teams, though, having spent time with the Raiders, Vikings, Saints, Ravens and Broncos in his career before his Bills tenure. The post-draft portion of free agency will no doubt be the time at which Murray could start to generate interest from teams, and it will be worth watching to see if his efforts to prepare himself for the 2024 campaign results in a contract.

Bills RBs Nyheim Hines, Latavius Murray Battling For Roster Spot?

The Bills rushing attack will look a bit different in 2023. Devin Singletary is gone, having left via free agency to the Texans. The front office added former Patriots starter Damien Harris to the mix, although he profiles as more of an RB2 since the organization is ready to go all-in on 2022 second-round pick James Cook.

Cook and Harris appear to be locked in atop the depth chart, leading to an apparent competition between Nyheim Hines and Latavius Murray for the RB3 spot. As Ryan O’Halloran of the Buffalo News noted today, the two veterans may actually be fighting for a roster spot, not just a spot on the depth chart. The Bills intend to give a roster spot to fullback Reggie Gilliam, perhaps leaving only one space for Hines or Murray

Hines would be the more natural fit if the organization is looking for a fill-in for Singletary. The former Bills RB averaged 39 receptions per season over his final three seasons in Buffalo. Harris had 40 total receptions during his four seasons in New England, and the former third-round pick seems primed to be a true backup. Cook provides some pass-catching prowess (21 catches as a rookie), but it seems unlikely that the second-year pro will be a true three-down back.

Hines could provide Josh Allen with another worthy target out of the backfield on third downs. The former Colts fourth-round pick averaged more than 56 catches per season though his first three years in the NFL, and while he saw a reduced role in 2021 and 2022, he still hauled in 70 total catches between the two campaigns.

While Hines has shown an ability to catch the ball, his roster spot could ultimately come down to special teams. The 26-year-old served as the Bills’ primary returner after joining the organization last season, returning a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns. As O’Halloran notes, new wideout Deonte Harty previously was an All-Pro punt returner, and his spot on the roster could make Hines expendable.

Murray would be the odd man out if Hines ultimately makes the team, but the veteran has a good case for making the roster. The 33-year-old would naturally bring some experience to a relatively young running back corps, and he’s also shown to be a worthy replacement starter in a pinch (he’s started at least three games in each of his nine NFL seasons). While Hines is the superior pass-catcher, Murray can also contribute in the passing game, with the veteran hauling in 35 catches just last season.

As O’Halloran writes, Murray is still a valuable player, with the RB most recently collecting close to 900 yards from scrimmage in 13 games with the Broncos and Saints in 2022. If Murray does end up missing the cut in Buffalo, O’Halloran believes the Bills front office should be able to get something for him via trade.

Hines and Murray will likely get an extended look during the preseason, but it seems likely that one of the two will be looking for a new job by the end of the preseason.

Bills Notes: Ertz, Hyde, Kincaid, Murray

The Bills became the first team to add a tight end in this year’s draft by trading up to select Dalton Kincaid. Seen as one of two first-round talents at the position, the Utah product figures to have a prominent pass-catching role in Buffalo’s offense for years to come.

The Bills came close to making a veteran addition at the position in 2021, though, when Zach Ertz was on the trade block. The three-time Pro Bowler ended up being dealt to the Cardinals, but Buffalo was named as a suitor at the time. Their efforts nearly yielded a swap, as Ertz recently confirmed.

“I was getting traded out of Philadelphia,” the 32-year-old said, via Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News“There were a couple teams extremely interested, Buffalo being one of them. It was almost a done deal, but it just didn’t get over the finish line.”

Here are some other notes out of Buffalo:

  • Micah Hyde is entering the final year of his deal, and he appears set to play without a new contract in hand beyond 2023. General manager Brandon Beane indicated (via Gaughan’s colleague Jay Skurski, on Twitter) that no extension talks have taken place with the 32-year-old. Hyde has been a mainstay on the backend during his six-year tenure with the Bills, but a neck injury limited him to just two games in 2022. The Pro Bowler is due $7.2MM this season, and has a scheduled cap hit of $10.57MM. His replacement after going down – Damar Hamlin – has been cleared to return to football activities and has two years remaining on his rookie contract.
  • Part of the reason the Bills traded up to secure Kincaid was the run on receivers coming off the board in the middle of the first round, as Beane noted during an appearance on Sirius XM Radio (audio link). Buffalo moved up from No. 27 to 25 (ahead of the TE-needy Cowboys) to secure Kincaid, widely seen as the best pass-catcher in a loaded class at the position. The latter should represent a strong fit in the team’s offense given how his skillset compliments that of Dawson Knox, though the Bills went until the fifth round to secure a receiver prospect, something many expected them to add earlier given their need for secondary pass-catching options.
  • The latest addition to Buffalo’s backfield, veteran Latavius Murray, came as a surprise to some. However, he knew he would be headed to Orchard Park by the third day of the draft given his agreement with Beane. The latter revealed, via Ryan Talbot of, that he elected not to draft a running back on Day 3 on the condition that Murray would agree to sign with Buffalo. The 33-year-old should have a rotational role in the Bills’ new-look backfield after inking a one-year, veteran minimum pact.

Bills Sign RB Latavius Murray

MAY 4: Murray will join the Bills on a veteran-minimum deal. The central New York native committed to the Bills on a one-year, $1.17MM deal, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 tweets. This is the highest league-minimum threshold, with Murray having at least seven years’ service time. Buffalo will guarantee the 11th-year vet $650K, Wilson adds.

MAY 1: The first of several veteran free agent running backs still on the market following the draft has found a new home. The Bills announced on Monday that they have signed Latavius Murray to a one-year deal.

Buffalo hosted the 33-year-old earlier this month, so it comes as little surprise that a contract has now been agreed to. Running back was seen by many as an area of need for the Bills this offseason, and the team declined to make any additions at the position during the draft. They will now take the veteran route in an effort to boost their ground game.

Murray began the 2022 season in New Orleans, where he had previously played in 2019 and ’20, but spent most of the campaign in Denver. The Broncos turned to him as their lead back after losing Javonte Williams to an ACL tear and eventually releasing Melvin Gordon. Murray took advantage of that opportunity, leading the team with 703 rushing yards (on an average of 4.4 per carry) and scoring five touchdowns.

That led to the expectation he would remain in the Mile High City, and in doing so reunite with former Saints head coach Sean Payton on a more permanent basis. Denver added Samaje Perine as a backup, but even that move seemed to leave the door open to Murray inking a pact with the Broncos. Instead, the latter will look to carve out a rotational role in the Bills’ new-look backfield.

Devin Singletary departed in free agency, leading the Bills to sign former Patriot Damien Harris in free agency. Buffalo had previously traded for Nyheim Hines and used a second-round pick in last year’s draft on James Cook. Murray profiles closer to Harris than the latter two in terms of skillset, and snaps could be hard to come by if the team’s RB room remains healthy. Still, Buffalo appears to be making a concerted effort to increase their production in the run game in a way which lessens quarterback Josh Allen‘s workload, and the addition of Murray could prove to be an effective step in that direction.

Bills Meet With RB Latavius Murray

Hours after losing Devin Singletary to the Texans, the Bills agreed to terms with Damien Harris. The former Patriot appeared to fill the Singletary void, with the signing coming shortly after GM Brandon Beane said the team was looking to add at the position.

Buffalo might not be done with backfield augmentations. The team brought in Latavius Murray on a free agency visit, Field Yates of tweets. Most recently with the Broncos, Murray has managed to play 10 NFL seasons despite being a sixth-round pick.

The Broncos appeared to be a potential spot for Murray, who led them in rushing last season. Javonte Williams‘ ACL recovery timetable may bleed into the regular season — or at least into training camp — and former Murray coach Sean Payton is now at the helm. Payton also referenced a Murray text exchange ahead of his Denver courtship, seemingly indicating a return could be in play for the ex-Alvin Kamara change-of-pace back. But Samaje Perine signed with the Broncos, potentially removing Murray from the equation. Even after the Broncos’ Perine add, Murray return rumors persisted. But nothing has developed on that front.

Murray, 33, quickly leapfrogged Melvin Gordon upon arriving in Denver from New Orleans’ practice squad. Despite the in-season arrival, the former Raiders sixth-rounder more than doubled Gordon’s yardage output and finished with 703 (4.4 per carry). Murray’s contract expired in March. If Murray were to play an age-33 season, he would join a select group of modern backs to do so. Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson are the only pure running backs to be on a team’s Week 1 roster at 33 or older over the past six years. Ex-Murray Saints teammate Mark Ingram, who turned 33 in December, will try to join this club as well.

The Bills added Harris to a backfield corps that includes 2022 second-round pick James Cook and deadline acquisition Nyheim Hines. While Hines contributes regularly as a return specialist, he also has passing-game chops. Murray would stand to overlap with the Harris as a between-the-tackles threat, but the Bills are taking a look anyway. Murray is from central New York, though he went to college at Central Florida.

The Syracuse-area native has played for five teams and has a 1,000-yard season — back in 2015 with Oakland — on his resume. Murray has mostly worked as an off-the-bench back, playing alongside the likes of Kamara and Dalvin Cook. But the Broncos turned to him as a near-full-timer last season, with Williams on the shelf and Gordon again struggling with ball security. Murray topped 100 rushing yards in two of Denver’s final four games, including a 130-yard showing against the Cardinals in Week 15.

Broncos Sought Second-Round Pick For Courtland Sutton; Jackson, Murray On Radar

Sean Payton did his best to confirm, despite persistent trade rumors, Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton would be part of the Broncos’ equation in 2023. The team has long been linked to wanting a first-round pick for Jeudy; its ask on Sutton was (is?) not far off.

Denver wanted a second-round pick in exchange for Sutton, Mike Klis of 9News reports. A former Pro Bowler, Sutton has shown flashes of high-end play. The Broncos’ years-long quarterback issue has held both Jeudy and Sutton back, and the latter is attached to what has become midlevel money at the position. This and the receiver trade market not being what it was in 2022 has generated Sutton buzz.

But Sutton is also four years older than Jeudy; the SMU product is going into his age-28 season. The 6-foot-4 wideout is attached to a $14MM base salary in 2023. Sutton has manageable cap hits, considering the receiver market’s explosion in the months after he signed his $15MM-per-year extension in fall 2021, but that salary is lofty for teams to consider parting with a second-round choice.

The Broncos should not be viewed as dead-set against trading one of their starting wide receivers, though the Browns and Cowboys — each a Jeudy suitor — have moved on. The Patriots and Giants also were in on Jeudy at various points since last year’s trade deadline. Sutton’s market has been quieter, but the Broncos — due to the Payton and Russell Wilson trades — do not pick until the third round. Payton said this component has brought teams to inquire about the team’s top receivers; the new Broncos HC added that he does not view this coming wideout draft class as particularly impressive.

Another player who could be part of Denver’s 2023 offense: Latavius Murray, who figured to remain on the radar due to Payton’s ties with him. Broncos GM George Paton, while expressing that new signing Samaje Perine will be the team’s go-to guy if Javonte Williams (ACL) is not ready to start the season, said (via the Denver Gazette’s Chris Tomasson) the team still likes Murray.

The former Raiders 1,000-yard rusher came in and played effectively for the Broncos, his fifth NFL team. Murray, 33, led the Broncos with 703 rushing yards, even as he arrived just ahead of Week 6. While Kareem Hunt remains available, Murray’s Saints past and undoubtedly lower asking price compared to the former rushing champion opens the door to another Broncos deal.

The Broncos have another 30-something on the radar to stay. Kareem Jackson has signed three Broncos contracts; the team has not ruled out a fourth. Paton added (via Klis) the Broncos have been in contact with the veteran DB’s representatives.

Jackson, who signed a three-year deal worth $33MM in 2019, has been a Denver safety starter over the past four seasons. Next season would be Jackson’s age-35 slate, but he has started 61 games for the Broncos. Jackson did arrive just after Vance Joseph‘s first Denver tenure wrapped, and the team has rookie-contract safety Caden Sterns as a potential option opposite Justin Simmons. But Jackson has signed for less money on each of his most recent deals. He took a pay cut from $5MM to $2MM in 2022.

Broncos To Sign RB Samaje Perine

Seeking Javonte Williams insurance, the Broncos are looking to another team’s backup. Former Bengals running back Samaje Perine is signing a two-year Denver deal, Mike Garafolo of tweets.

The Broncos are giving the former Joe Mixon backup a two-year, $7.5MM deal that includes an additional $1MM in incentives. Perine will join his fourth NFL team and an offense in transition. With Williams recovering from ACL surgery, an opportunity at a bigger role may exist in Denver.

Backing up Mixon both in Cincinnati and at Oklahoma, Perine effectively filled in for the starter last season. The 240-pound back scored four touchdowns in a two-game starter span last year, helping the Bengals to wins over the Steelers and Chiefs. He totaled 21 carries for 106 yards and a score over the eventual Super Bowl champions.

This pickup is also interesting due to the number of young starters available for the Broncos. While the Dolphins brought back both Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson and the Eagles inked Rashaad Penny, the rest of the starters who were not franchise-tagged remain on the market. Kareem Hunt, Miles Sanders, Devin Singletary, Jamaal Williams, D’Onta Foreman, Damien Harris and David Montgomery are available. It does not appear each will command starter-level money, with a supply-and-demand issue favoring teams, so the Broncos diving in early on Perine either points to some conviction from team brass or an intent not to devote much money to the Williams insurance slot.

That said, Perine only has 401 career carries on his odometer. Although he is headed into an age-28 season, the light workload should benefit him. And the Broncos did operate aggressively on Day 1 of the legal tampering period, giving big deals to Mike McGlinchey, Ben Powers and Zach Allen. Sean Payton favorite Latavius Murray might also be on the docket; 9News’ Mike Klis confirms Murray is still a possibility (Twitter link). The Broncos may still be on the lookout for a back with more pass-catching upside, though Perine did finish with a career-high 38 receptions for 287 yards last season.

Williams suffered a torn ACL in Week 4 of season, and it is not certain he will be back to start next season. Perine, then, moves into position to start in that case. Barring an agreement with one of the other UFA backs, the Broncos should be considered likely to add to their running back room during the middle rounds of the draft.

Russell Wilson Wanted Sean Payton To Replace Pete Carroll With Seahawks?

More information emerged regarding Russell Wilson‘s odd 2022 Friday morning. A report from Kalyn Kahler, Mike Sando and Jayson Jenks of The Athletic indicates the veteran quarterback made a request that Seahawks ownership fire both Pete Carroll and John Schneider, citing the duo had inhibited his pursuit of Super Bowls and awards.

This alleged request came weeks before the Seahawks decided to trade Wilson to the Broncos. Wilson denied (via Twitter) he asked for the Seattle HC and GM’s firings, and a lawyer for the QB described that assertion as “entirely fabricated.”

Wilson-Carroll disagreements about the direction of the Seahawks took place ahead of the QB’s 2021 trade destination list surfacing, and after the 2022 trade, reports indicating the NFC West team viewed its former franchise passer as declining came out. A shockingly mediocre Wilson season commenced in Denver. His partnership with Nathaniel Hackett proved a poor fit, and Hackett became the third first-year HC since the 1970 merger to be fired before season’s end.

The Broncos have since traded for Sean Payton, nearly two years after Wilson’s trade list included the Saints. Wilson wanted the Seahawks to trade for Payton’s rights after his Saints exit last year, according to The Athletic. Payton announced he was leaving the Saints on Jan. 25, 2022; Schneider and Broncos GM George Paton began discussing a trade ahead of the Feb. 5 Senior Bowl. The trade took place March 8.

The previously referenced Latavius Murray text message to his former coach occurred just before the Broncos’ Christmas blowout loss to the Rams. Payton had said Murray texted him about he and a backfield teammate wanting him in Denver, with the veteran running back confirming Wilson was the teammate. Murray sent the text Dec. 23, per The Athletic. The Broncos fired Hackett on Dec. 26, following a 51-14 loss to the Rams. No accusation is made of Wilson wanting Hackett to go, but that relationship had long trended in that direction. During the Broncos’ coaching search, Wilson reached out to Payton.

Payton soon put the kibosh on Wilson’s team having full access to Denver’s facility, but Paton allowed Wilson’s personal coach (Jake Heaps), a physical therapist and a nutritionist such privileges last year. Heaps had partial access to the Seahawks’ facility, per The Athletic, and Wilson did not have an office there. Wilson agreed to stop using the office and to keep his support staff out of the building over the season’s final two weeks.

Wilson organized weekly meetings for Denver’s offense during the players’ Tuesday off day, and The Athletic notes Heaps was part of those summits, which were aimed around preparing for the next opponent. An anonymous coach also said he did not agree with the evaluations Wilson and Heaps made on scouting reports distributed on Tuesdays. With Hackett also being accused of being too deferential to players, the potentially incongruent scouting reports would provide a partial explanation for the Broncos’ myriad offensive issues. Those came to a head during an ugly Thursday loss to the Colts in October and persisted for much of the season.

The team ended the year with three play-callers. All three (Hackett, QBs coach Klint Kubiak, OC Justin Outten) are elsewhere now. Melvin Gordon, whom the Broncos waived in November after extensive fumbling problems, said Hackett attempting to blend Wilson’s Seattle offense and Hackett’s preferred Green Bay-style blueprint was “a bit much.” The organization fired Vic Fangio in large part due to his team’s struggles offensively, but the Broncos’ Pat ShurmurTeddy Bridgewater setup ranked 23rd in scoring. The Hackett-Wilson season produced a last-place ranking, and while numerous injuries contributed to this decline, the Broncos’ QB-HC partnership generated most of the attention. Payton, who signed a five-year contract, will be tasked with cleaning up this mess.

Payton will call the Broncos’ plays next season, accepting the team’s offer after DeMeco Ryans had generated some buzz. Ryans may not have been a serious candidate. While he preferred the Texans, The Athletic describes the former 49ers DC’s Broncos interview as “awkward.”

The Seahawks have begun negotiations with Geno Smith, whose surprising season earned him Comeback Player of the Year honors. It remains to be seen if the organization will make a true long-term commitment to Wilson’s former backup, but the team that had made some draft missteps late in Wilson’s tenure will be in position to land more starters via the 2023 first- and second-round picks obtained in the Wilson swap. Carroll is signed through the 2025 season; Schneider’s latest extension runs through 2027. Both decision-makers are going into their 14th seasons in Seattle.

Sean Payton Addresses Russell Wilson, Decision To Pass On Cardinals

Terry Bradshaw made a bit of noise during Super Bowl week, saying ex-FOX coworker Sean Payton was leery of working with either Russell Wilson or Kyler Murray.

Payton interviewed with two teams that roster returning quarterbacks — the Broncos and Cardinals — and two teams without settled starters (Panthers, Texans). He ended up choosing Denver, but Bradshaw said (via Newsday’s Tom Rock, on Twitter) he accepted the Broncos’ offer in spite of Wilson and did not want to work with Murray. Noting when Bradshaw is interviewed, “you hold your breath, because you don’t know what’s going to come out,” Payton addressed why he chose the Broncos — a job that will feature a Wilson cleanup task in 2023.

For me, the first thing was ownership and general manager. That triangle needed to be strong,” Payton told Kay Adams on her Up & Adams show Thursday. “… With Russell, we’ve got someone who’s won a lot of games, who’s been successful. And then it’s really looking at, ‘Hey, what are the things he does well?’ I think anytime you have a season where it’s 5-12 or whatever their record was, my experience from afar is, generally speaking, there are a lot of people with dirt on their hands — not just Russ. That falls on other players; that falls on the coaching staff. I think those things we can clean up and correct.

More importantly, [the decision centered on] going to the place where ownership is in place and supportive and has a clear vision and the general manager’s in place, those are the key, critical factors.”

Payton has spoken highly of both new Broncos CEO Greg Penner and third-year GM George Paton. Although Payton has been connected to bringing in former GM and longtime Saints staffer Jeff Ireland, Payton compared Denver’s GM to Mickey Loomis. For the time being, it looks like the Payton-Paton setup is not in jeopardy of splintering.

Paton’s headline 2022 acquisition encountered quick turbulence. Wilson struggled for most of the season acclimating to Nathaniel Hackett‘s offense and flashed concerning form in his age-34 campaign. But he angled for Payton, reaching out to the longtime Saints HC and Drew Brees about the fit. Payton will now be in charge of salvaging the Broncos’ big-ticket quarterback get.

We spoke briefly,” Payton said of a pre-hire conversation with Wilson. “Latavius Murray is one of my former players, and he’s played with a number of teams. He’s one of those guys you like being around. We had a great experience with him in New Orleans. I got a text right at the end of the season. He said, ‘Man, we have to find a way to get you here — me and backfield teammate.’ When I heard that, I thought of running back. Then I thought of who else is in his backfield? I texted and said, ‘Who is your backfield teammate?’ He sent the number three. It was Christmas time and I said, ‘Be careful what you’re asking Santa for.’ That was my response. We kind of went from there.”

The Broncos fired Hackett on Dec. 26, and Payton became the team’s top target soon after. He made the Broncos his first meeting and said that was not due simply to logistics. While Payton offered praise for Kyler Murray, he said his “instincts were pushing me in a direction with Denver.”

This promises to be an eventful period for a Broncos team that has followed up its Super Bowl 50 win with seven straight playoff absences. The team gave Wilson and his team considerable privileges upon acquiring the longtime Seahawk, allowing him input into the offense and permitting his camp access to the facility. This involved a private office for the quarterback and access for his personal coach, Jake Heaps. Payton will be making some changes on that front. While Payton said he was unfamiliar with the previous arrangement, he confirmed (video link via’s Albert Breer) Wilson would not be working with his personal coach while at the facility.

The Cardinals have yet to hire a head coach; it appears likely no decision is coming until after Super Bowl LVII. Shortly after the team’s Payton meeting, new candidates Lou Anarumo and Mike Kafka entered the mix. Those two may well be the Arizona finalists. Anarumo’s second interview is set for Friday.

I think [Murray] is extremely talented, and I think they have the same challenges there that we have in Denver,” Payton said, via Adams (Twitter link). “They are very similar challenges. Culture in the building has to be better. It just does.”

Latest On Broncos, Sean Payton Hiring

The Broncos were connected to a number of head coaching candidates in the days leading up to their trade with the Saints, with some reports indicating that the organization was zeroing in on 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, who ended up opting for the Texans job. However, owner Greg Penner made it clear today that the team had their sights on Sean Payton days before the deal was consummated.

“We locked in five to six days before got trade done, our focus was entirely on him and closing that deal,” Penner said during Payton’s introductory press conference today (via Troy Renck of Denver7 on Twitter).

On the day of the trade, it was reported that the Broncos had made a last-ditch offer to recruit Ryans to Denver. When he declined their overtures, the team pivoted to Payton, surrendering a 2023 first-round pick and 2024 second-round pick to acquire the head coach from New Orleans. The Broncos subsequently signed their new head coach to a five-year deal.

Payton, 59, was believed to be intrigued by both the new Broncos ownership contingent and the prospect of coaching Wilson. He acknowledged as much today, and he admitted that he was ready to return to television for another year if a suitable opportunity didn’t present itself (per Kyle Newman of the Denver Post on Twitter).

More notes out of Denver:

  • Payton said he spoke with Russell Wilson before joining the Broncos, and he added that running back Latavius Murray helped recruit him to Denver (via Newman on Twitter). The veteran had a pair of productive seasons playing under Payton when the two were with the Saints, with Murray averaging 852 yards from scrimmage during his two years in New Orleans. Thanks to a number of RB injuries, Murray ended up starting seven of his 12 appearances for the Broncos last season, finishing with 827 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns.
  • The head coach’s five-year contract was suggested to be in the range of $17MM to $21MM per season, but Peter King of Football Morning in America narrows down the number to “at least” $18MM. It sounds like Payton may have had to settle for that amount, as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes that the coach was seeking a contract that would pay him around $23MM annually. However, “Denver wasn’t quite comfortable paying that” amount.
  • As Dan Graziano points out in that same ESPN article, many assumed that Payton would want full control over player personnel like he had in New Orleans. This leads to natural questions about general manager George Paton‘s job security, and Fowler notes that there’s growing buzz that Payton wants to reunite with Saints vice president/assistant general manager Jeff Ireland. However, during his press conference today, Payton expressed optimism that he’ll mesh with his GM. “I feel like I’ve got good instincts, and I feel like there’s a demeanor with him that reminds me of Mickey (Loomis) in a good way,” he said (via Mike Klis of 9News on Twitter). “Very steady. I’ve always respected the teams that he’s been a part of…There’s this myth I’m this tyrant that has to come in and control everything. I’m like, ‘Where are you guys getting all this stuff from?’ I might be a tyrant once in a while but not a lot. Anyway, I really enjoy his company and it’s worked well so far.”
  • King notes that Wilson was a proponent of adding Payton, and the quarterback is looking forward to being coached hard following a disappointing first season in Denver. King points out the height similarities between Wilson and Drew Brees, who had plenty of success under Payton when the two were in New Orleans. In fact, Wilson recently reached out to Brees “to get a preview of coming attractions.”
  • In his FMIA article, King notes that Payton won’t be in a rush to find a coordinator and will look for a coach that’s a proper match. While there’s no clarity on additions, we’re getting word on who could be out in Denver. It sounds like tight ends coach Jake Moreland and assistant offensive line coach Ben Steele will not be back next season, per Klis (on Twitter).