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Denver Broncos bringing Sean Payton back for second head coaching interview

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Realizing long ago that the Nathaniel Hackett-Russell Wilson pairing wasn’t a winning combination, the Denver Broncos are deep in their search for a new head coach. They’ve interviewed several candidates so far, but only one is scheduled for a second interview. Sean Payton first interviewed with the Broncos’ decision-makers back on Jan. 17, the very first day he was allowed to speak to NFL teams.

Now, Mike Klis of KUSA notes that Payton is one of three finalists to fill the Broncos’ head coaching vacancy. He is expected to interview a second time with the Broncos later this week at an unknown time. But it’s important to note, Payton is also set to interview with the Carolina Panthers for their coaching vacancy on Jan. 23. There are also three other openings Payton is viewed as a candidate for. The Indianapolis Colts are the only team with a vacancy that has not requested or received permission to speak with Payton.

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List of Denver Broncos’ head coaching candidates so far

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

While Payton has made it into the finalist stage, he is one of a total of eight candidates who have interviewed with the Broncos about their head coaching vacancy. As Klis reported via KUSA, three finalists are expected to receive a second interview this week. Payton is one, but who are the other two? They haven’t been revealed yet, but here’s the full list of candidates the Broncos have spoken with during the 2023 hiring cycle.

Listed in no particular order:

Payton is said to be seeking a contract worth somewhere in the $20 to $25 million range in annual salary. Then there’s also the fact that the Broncos will have to trade for Payton, who’s still under contract with the New Orleans Saints until 2024. Recent reports have suggested the Saints’ asking price starts at a first-round pick but are seeking even more.

Based on Denver’s willingness to spend, plus their strong desire to chase a Super Bowl after trading for Russell Wilson, it appears even a spendy price tag isn’t enough to take the Broncos out of the race.

Related: NFL head coach interview tracker: Updated NFL coach rumors