DENVER (WNCN) – The Denver Broncos have finalized a deal to make Sean Payton their next head coach. The deal was first reported by NFL Insider Ian Rapoport.
Payton was still under contract with the New Orleans Saints through 2024, who he most recently coached for before stepping down in 2021.
But, Rapoport reports the Broncos will send a first-round pick in 2023 and an early 2024 pick in order to hire Payton. Rapoport said the 2024 pick is likely a second-round pick, but it has yet to be confirmed. New Orleans is also sending an unspecified pick back, which is likely a late-rounder.
Payton confirmed on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on Jan. 16 that he agreed to meet with the Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans and Denver.
Carolina was in the mix, but the cost of picks seemed to steer it away — especially for a team who could again be looking for a quarterback in the draft.
Houston also hired San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans as its next head coach on Tuesday, too.
“Payton called ownership stability ‘critical’ while also acknowledging that these teams most likely have issues at quarterback, which is why they are in the head coaching market,” Sports Illustrated reported.
For clarity, Denver’s quarterback trade for Russell Wilson has so far turned disastrous. The Super Bowl-winning signal-caller had the lowest completion percentage of his career (60.5 percent), touchdowns (16), two shy of the most in a single season in his career (11) and the lowest quarterback rating of his career (37).
Payton won a Super Bowl with the Saints in 2009 and has only finished below .500 four times in 15 years — all at 7-9.