In case anyone was worried about the possibility that the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group was going to be any version of conservative in terms of making upgrades to the Denver Broncos as they see fit, you can safely put your minds at ease. This ownership group, although new to the football realm as of 2022, certainly is not wasting any time making substantial investments.
They obviously made their most substantial investment by spending $4.65 billion to buy the team in the first place. It wasn’t long after that the ownership group signed off on a $245 million contract extension for Russell Wilson. Since then, they’ve approved a $100 million stadium upgrade project and sent the Colorado School of Mines $100,000 to send their students to a championship football game.
Among other investments.
Most recently, the ownership group didn’t like the condition of the field at Empower Field at Mile High, so they paid to have it fixed. With one game left in the regular season.
And this wasn’t just paying someone to come in and water the grass, this was an absolute overhaul.
So, a quick recap here:
- Team: $4.65 billion
- Russell Wilson: $245 million
- Stadium upgrades: $100 million
- Replace the grass at the stadium: $400,000
- Send the students to the big game: $100,000
- Spending time with your loved ones on a Sunday afternoon?: Priceless
All kidding aside, the investments have been nothing short of staggering and they all point to one thing: This Denver Broncos ownership group is ready to make substantial investments to make this team better, whether you’re talking about the grass on the field or the product on the grass, meaning the players and coaches.
The latter is obviously a very hot topic at the moment. As in, very hot.
We all know the Denver Broncos are “in the game” for more reasons than being willing to part with draft picks. They are “in the game” with Sean Payton because they have proven to top head coach candidates that they are willing to spend big bucks to get the best of the best to Denver.
And both Sean Payton and Jim Harbaugh — apparently the top two targets right now for the ownership group — are the favorites for the job. Actually, when the first betting odds came out regarding the Broncos’ head coaching vacancy, it was surprisingly Sean Payton at the top of the list. Now, perhaps it wouldn’t be such a surprise if he landed the gig.
But he would have to want it.
The Denver Broncos have been granted permission to interview Payton by the Saints, which means Payton granted the Broncos permission to meet with him. That’s not insignificant as far as details go. Payton has allegedly not wanted the Broncos gig because of the same “reasons” people said the Broncos would never be able to lure a quarterback to the Mile High City:
- The AFC West is too hard
- Nobody wants to play Pat Mahomes and Justin Herbert 2x a year
- Nobody wants to work with Russ
- The Broncos “have no draft picks”
- The Broncos are in “cap hell”
There is only a small degree of truth to that list, and it really has to do with people assuming that coach candidates aren’t competitive and would prefer the easy road to a division title.
There are rumors and reports floating around that the Broncos would be willing to pay upwards of $20-25 million per year to one of Harbaugh or Payton. Those numbers aren’t floating around by mistake…
So, Sean, did you hear those reports that we’d be willing to pay you $25 million per year? LOL, amirite? Anyway, how are things? Tell us your thoughts on Russell Wilson. What advice might you give a coach we happen to interview who gets offered a deal worth $100 million over four years?
Okay, so I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek here. But you get the idea, right?
The Denver Broncos mean business. The Walton-Penner ownership group might be new to football, but they’re anything but new to business and negotiations. Interestingly enough, it feels like this coaching search — which is being led by Broncos CEO Greg Penner — is a bit more limited than the one we saw last year led by George Paton.
The result was the same (a loss) but there were some notable and significant differences for the Denver Broncos in their first game post-Nathaniel Hackett.
With that being said, if Penner and the ownership group have their way, this search will be anything but limited in terms of the amount they’re willing to spend to get the best possible coach in place.