The head-spinning drama with Sean Payton and this year’s head coach carousel continued on Monday. It was reported on Monday morning by New Orleans-based reporter Jeff Duncan that the Denver Broncos had a second interview with Payton scheduled for Wednesday…but that apparently isn’t the case.
Other NFL reporters disputed Duncan’s report of Payton interviewing for a second time in Denver to the point that nobody knew if there actually was a meeting scheduled. Then came a bit of breaking news out of Arizona…
Denver Broncos have competition from Arizona Cardinals for Sean Payton
The Arizona Cardinals were once considered the biggest threat to the Broncos to hire Sean Payton because they could offer the HC/GM package. That’s no longer the case as they have a new GM, Monti Ossenfort. With that being said, it does appear as though their once-grim hope of acquiring Payton has been given new life…
Who knows, at this point, what is to be believed when it comes to the potential of a second interview between Payton and the Broncos? It was reported the second interview was taking place on Wednesday, then it was reported it might be Wednesday or Thursday, then it was reported that no second interviews have been scheduled, and then it was reported that the second interview was delayed.
So what’s actually happening here? Do the Denver Broncos want Sean Payton? Does Sean Payton want the Denver Broncos?
At this point, it’s kind of hard to know. The Broncos concluded their first round of interviews as of Friday. At least, as far as any of us know. They wrapped up interviews with Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans before the two faced off in the Divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
At this point, so much steam has built up for Sean Payton to Denver, but it also feels like most of that has come from Payton’s camp and he’s certainly done a good job of controlling his own narrative at this point.
Does he prefer to go back to FOX and work in TV for another year? Does he prefer the possibility of the 2024 head coaching cycle when an LA job or maybe the Cowboys become available? Does he want to stick it to the Saints by coaching the Panthers? Would he prefer not to coach the Panthers and tarnish his legacy with the Saints? Does he want to coach Russell Wilson or does he think Russ is cooked? Is Arizona the team to beat or does it seem like they’re an afterthought? Does he like the appeal of working in Houston or does he prioritize ownership? Does he require no GM to be in place or will he be open to working with a new GM?
Like I said, this has been a head-spinning PR stunt from Payton, who has leaked information to Colin Cowherd and simultaneously been transparent about his process on TV himself.
Many in Broncos Country have grown used to the John Elway way of doing things. You get a candidate you want, and you treat them to a steak dinner and don’t let them leave until they take your offer. That tactic proved itself successful for Elway on a variety of occasions, but it doesn’t appear to be the way the Walton-Penner group operates.
Payton’s interview with the team wasn’t such that Greg Penner is rushing to cut him a blank check. Clearly the Broncos haven’t yet consummated a trade with the Saints. All of the options seemingly remain on the table.
Nobody knows what to think at this point, and that’s thanks largely to the Broncos keeping their side of things very tight-lipped, at least for the most part. For now, it seems like Sean Payton is driving the narratives of his head coaching pursuit. It also seems, from the outside looking in, like he could take or leave Denver.
Taking a trip down memory lane, looking at three blockbuster trades the Denver Broncos almost made but didn't end up finishing.
We’re getting closer to a resolution with all of this, but waiting during the home stretch of a head coaching search is brutal for everyone.