Just over a month after the Denver Broncos fired Nathaniel Hackett, they have found his replacement. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Broncos and New Orleans Saints have agreed on a trade, sending Sean Payton to Denver, where he will coach Russell Wilson and Co. in 2023.
The Broncos have agreed to trade their 2023 first-round pick (29th overall) and their 2024 second-round pick for Payton and New Orleans’ 2024 third-round pick. After trading their original first-round pick to Philadelphia during last year’s NFL Draft, this trade now gives the Saints a selection in the opening round of April’s upcoming draft.
But for Denver, the implications are much bigger. Now that the compensation has been agreed to, the Broncos can now begin negotiating a contract with Payton.
Previous reports have suggested the Super Bowl-winning head coach could receive as much as $20 million in annual salary. If so, it would make him the highest-paid head coach in NFL history. We should find out more, at least about the contract length, soon enough. Unlike players, typically, exact salary amounts aren’t revealed to the public for coaching contracts.
Yet, the Broncos’ ownership likely doesn’t mind having to fork over a bit more cash. Bringing a coach with a résumé like Payton aboard is much different than starting over with an unproven leader who’s never actually led an NFL locker room before. Payton has a career win-loss record of 152-89 (63%), and led the Saints to the playoffs in nine of his 15 seasons at the helm.
After a year off, now he’ll look to bring the Broncos back to the postseason for the first time since 2015, and like when Payton was working with Drew Brees, now he’ll once again have the opportunity to coach a future Hall of Fame QB, with Wilson.
Sean Payton becomes fourth head coach since 1997 to be traded for a first-round pick
Both Belichick and Gruden won Super Bowls with their new teams. Belichick won his first Super Bowl ring in just his second season with the New England Patriots, and Jon Gruden won his Super Bowl that very same year.
Bill Parcells is the only one of this trio who did not win a Super Bowl with his new team. As for Payton, will he join his former protege Bill Parcells, or will he help the Broncos win their fourth Super Bowl as a franchise?