The Denver Broncos’ front office has turned their attention to 2023. After firing first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett the day after Christmas, the franchise will again embark on a head-coaching search, and they have officially shown interest in a name that figures to be a popular one this offseason.
The Broncos have requested and received permission from the New Orleans Saints to interview former head coach Sean Payton, per ESPN and confirmed by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones. Denver can reportedly interview Payton in-person as early as Jan. 17. The Saints still hold the rights to Payton, and any team that hires him will have to create a trade package to send New Orleans. The last NFL coaching trade took place in 2006, when the Kansas City Chiefs sent the New York Jets a fourth-round pick for Herm Edwards.
Payton confirmed the rumors on Sunday morning, saying he’s already spoken to Broncos ownership.
“Denver’s the first team, and I was able to have a conversation with their owner — and that’s kind of the protocol,” Payton said on FOX. “So it’ll go team to Saints, and then the interview process can’t officially begin until the 17th of this month. . . . So that’s really where it’s at.”
According to NFL Media’s Ian RapoportDenver understands and agrees with the New Orleans’ asking price of “a first-round pick and more.” Thanks to their midseason trade that sent linebacker Bradley Chubb to the Miami Dolphins, the Broncos have a first-round pick available in a potential deal to acquire Payton’s contractual rights. Denver also has possession of their 2023 third round pick as well as their first four picks in 2024.
ESPN reports that the Broncos and Saints do not have to agree to trade compensation at this juncture. Those talks would happen later if the conversations between Denver and Payton go well. As for what it could cost the Broncos or any team to trade for Payton, says nearly every executive he polled estimated it would cost at least a first-round pick.
Payton stepped down from his role as head coach of the Saints last January, but many believe he is ready to return to the sidelines in 2023. The Super Bowl XLIV champion holds a 152-89 regular season record, and a 9-8 postseason record in 15 seasons coached.
According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina AndersonPayton has a high affinity for the Los Angeles Chargers and Dallas Cowboys jobs, with the Arizona Cardinals being in consideration as well should that job open up. Anderson reported last month that Payton will probably listen if the Broncos call, but historically, he’s preferred a strong link to the general manager.