Sean Payton is expected to become the Denver Broncos’ new head coach, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
As part of the move, the Broncos will send their 2023 first-round pick (29th overall) and a 2024 second-round selection to the New Orleans Saints, with whom the head coach was still under contract through 2024, in exchange for Payton and New Orleans’ 2024 third-round choice, Schefter adds.
Payton didn’t coach in 2022 after stepping down as the Saints’ sideline boss following the 2021 season. The 2006 Coach of the Year was the most coveted head coaching candidate on the market and also interviewed with the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, and Carolina Panthers.
The 59-year-old posted a 152-89 regular-season record with the Saints from 2006-21 and helped New Orleans win its first-ever Super Bowl title against the Indianapolis Colts during the 2009 campaign.
Payton, one of football’s most respected offensive-minded coaches, will inherit a Denver team that underachieved in 2022. The Broncos went 5-12 and ranked last in points scored despite bringing in star quarterback Russell Wilson as part of a blockbuster trade in the offseason. Denver fired first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett in December after 15 games.
The Broncos landed Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a package that included two first-round picks and two second-round selections. He then inked a five-year, $245-million contract extension. A nine-time Pro Bowler, Wilson completed 60.5% of his passes while tossing 16 touchdowns this campaign, the worst mark of his career.
In New Orleans, Payton helped the Drew Brees-led offense become one of the NFL’s most productive units. The Saints, who boasted the 31st-ranked offense the season before Payton’s arrival, placed in the top 10 in scoring in 12 of the head coach’s 15 seasons.
Denver entered the 2022 season without a first-round pick but acquired the No. 29 selection in a November trade with the Miami Dolphins, who landed pass-rusher Bradley Chubb in return. The first-round selection originally belonged to the San Francisco 49ers.
The Walton-Penner family acquired the Broncos for $4.65 billion last June, and new owner Greg Penner previously said his new head coach will report to him, not general manager George Paton. Payton recently praised the team’s ownership in response to a report that he feared a potential power struggle with a member of the club’s new ownership group.
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