The Denver Broncos are about to begin their head coaching search. Per Adam Schefter, the team has requested—and received—permission to interview Sean Payton for their head coaching vacancy. Per Schefter, no team can actually interview Payton until January 17.
The Broncos fired Nathaniel Hackett prior to Week 16, with Jerry Rosburg taking over as interim head coach.
Payton took the 2022 season off away from coaching but is still under contract with the Saints. This means that the Denver Broncos—or any team that wants to pry Payton away would have to give up something in a trade. It is likely that it would be as much as a first-round pick or multiple.
Payton was the head coach of the New Orleans Saints from 2006 to 2021 and won Super Bowl in 2009 against the Indianapolis Colts. Payton went 152-89 in the regular season and 9-8 in the playoffs during his stay with the Saints. Of course, he had Drew Brees at quarterback that entire time.
Payton could continue his career with another future hall of fame quarterback in Russell Wilson, who unfortunately had a down year in 2022. The thing that is encouraging is that Wilson has had some tremendous seasons in the past with the Seattle Seahawks and Pete Carroll as head coach, so the two veterans could end up being a match made in heaven.
From 2000 through 2002, Payton was the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants.
Other candidates for the Denver Broncos’ head coaching position are Dan Quinn, formerly the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Demeco Ryans, and current Michigan/former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Payton, Harbaugh and Quinn figure to be the three names that are most linked to the Broncos’ head coaching vacancy. All three have had tremendous success including all of them making it to the Super Bowl.
We could see former Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio return to Denver as the team’s defensive coordinator if Sean Payton ends up as the team’s coach.
Payton being the first name mentioned as an interviewee could be some good news. It will be interesting to see how many times the Denver Broncos do interview Payton, or any other candidate for the job.