The Saints are expected to receive first- and second-round draft picks from the Broncos in what amounts to a trade involving Payton. The Broncos are receiving the rights to Payton, who remained under contract with the Saints after stepping down as coach after the 2021 season, and a third-round selection, according to the person familiar with the proceedings.
Neither team immediately announced the deal. The Broncos and Houston Texans, who announced the hiring of San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans as coach on Tuesday, become the second and third of five NFL franchises with head coaching vacancies to make their choices. The Carolina Panthers hired former Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich last week.
Payton, 59, is reportedly seeking a contract worth around $20 million a season as he contemplates his return to the NFL in recent weeks and interviews several teams. He was out of the league this season while working as an NFL studio analyst for Fox.
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The Broncos, Panthers, Texans and Arizona Cardinals sued Payton. The Broncos appeared to be the favorites for much of the process. Payton told Associates early on that he liked the franchise’s stable ownership situation and was willing to work with quarterback Russell Wilson.
Some issues arose during Payton’s interview, a person familiar with the situation said last week. Payton emerged with concerns about a possible power struggle with a member of franchise ownership, according to this person. But Payton denied such a problem, writing on Twitter last week that he had a “great visit” with the Broncos and that “the property was fantastic.”
payton appeared on Fox’s pregame show Sunday and said, “I think next week we will know a lot more. … There are still a handful of things going on for these coaches and myself.
All issues were resolved and all concerns were mitigated in subsequent conversations, according to the person familiar with the deliberations. Last weekend, the Broncos and Saints began working on trade terms, according to the person.
Trades involving NFL coaches are rare but not unprecedented. Jon Gruden moved from the then Oakland-based Raiders to Tampa Bay in 2002, and he coached the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl triumph in his first season. Previous trades involved Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells and others.
Payton had a lengthy interview Thursday in Arizona with Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill. He had previously spoken with the Texans and the Panthers. His options for a return to practice had narrowed after Sean McVay opted to remain coach of the Los Angeles Rams, the Los Angeles Chargers decided to retain Brandon Staley after their first-round playoff loss and the Dallas Cowboys stayed with Mike McCarthy.
The Broncos have the wealthiest owners in the NFL after a group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton bought the team last year from the Pat Bowlen Trust for a league-high 4.65 billions of dollars.
The new owners inherited Hackett as freshman coach and Wilson, a nine-time Pro Bowl draft pick and former Super Bowl winner for the Seattle Seahawks, who the Broncos got on an offseason trade, as a quarterback. back. They doubled down on Wilson’s deal by signing him to a five-year, $245 million contract extension.
It did not work. Wilson, who turned 34 in November, had the worst season of his career. The Broncos went 5-12 and fired Hackett with two games left; assistant Jerry Rosburg served as interim coach. Favorites to replace Hackett were thought to initially include University of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and former Stanford University coach David Shaw.
It was a torturous search process for the Broncos. Greg Penner, the team’s general manager, reportedly traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan, last week to meet with Harbaugh, who had previously announced he would stay in Michigan. There were reports last week that Ryans had become one of the top candidates for the Broncos. NFL Network reported that Denver made a last attempt tuesday to hire Ryans.
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The Broncos have missed the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons since winning the Super Bowl to wrap up the 2015 season in quarterback Peyton Manning’s final NFL game. They had six consecutive losing seasons spanning the head coaching tenures of Vance Joseph, Vic Fangio and Hackett. They attempted to resolve their quarterback dilemma by trading for Wilson. Now they’re trying to fix Wilson’s game and return to contender status by turning to Payton.
He coached the Saints for 15 seasons and won 63.1% of his games, posting a 152-89 regular season record. He took the team to the playoffs nine times and won the Super Bowl in the 2009 season. Payton and Drew Brees formed one of the most successful coach-quarterback tandems in NFL history and revitalized the franchise after being forced to play away from New Orleans in the 2005 season after Hurricane Katrina.
Payton returned to the Saints after missing the 2012 season while suspended for his role in the Bountygate scandal. The NFL cited him for not doing more to stop a system that offered players payouts for hits that hurt opponents, according to a league investigation. Payton said when he retired to New Orleans in January 2022 that he might not be done with training.