3 reasons the Broncos did not make a mistake trading for Sean Payton

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Did the Denver Broncos make a mistake by hiring Sean Payton? Did they give up too much in a trade? Are they paying Payton too much money? Is this risk worth the reward?

There are a lot of questions being asked as the Denver Broncos' roster starts to take shape leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft. The reality of not having a first-round pick has set in, so what makes Sean Payton worth the massive price of admission?

I think there are a lot of fair questions being asked these days by the members of Broncos Country. The team has been bad the last handful of years. The Walton-Penner ownership group inherited a team with the second-longest playoff draught in the NFL right now and had to make the tough decision to fire Nathaniel Hackett in his first year on the job. The Broncos spent more money than any other team in NFL Free Agency. They paid a bigger price for their new head coach than any other team with a vacancy.

Why was this not a mistake? Let's take a look at the three main reasons.

3 reasons the Denver Broncos did not make a mistake trading for HC Sean Payton

1. Sean Payton is one of the best NFL head coaches in modern history

Let's start here, because I think this is easy for people to miss. Among active NFL head coaches with at least five seasons on the job, there are only four with a higher career win percentage than Sean Payton:

- Bill Belichick, Patriots
- Andy Reid, Chiefs
- Sean McDermott, Bills
- Mike Tomlin, Steelers

That's it. Even if you throw in all qualified active coaches, only Matt LaFleur is added to that list with a high win percentage in his first four years on the job with the Green Bay Packers.

Sean Payton's win percentage as a head coach (.631) is tied with Curly Lambeau for 23rd best in NFL history. His nine career playoff wins are tied for fifth-best among active NFL coaches. For whatever reason, people have diminished the accomplishment of Payton and the Saints winning a Super Bowl, saying he has "only" won one as an NFL head coach. Payton is one of just eight current NFL head coaches that has led his team to a Super Bowl title.

It's not just that Payton has been around the block, he's basically a living legend after what he accomplished in New Orleans over 16 years and 15 seasons.

In 10 of his 15 seasons coaching the Saints, Payton's teams ranked in the top 10 of point differential, meaning they outscored their opponents more than two-thirds of the league. Payton has been an OC or HC for 18 of his years coaching in the NFL. In 15 of those 18 seasons, his offenses have been top-9 units. In two of the remaining three seasons, they ranked 12th and 13th.

Only once did Payton's Saints offenses rank outside the top 12 in scoring offense. The only time his offense didn't rank in the top 12 in scoring was the 2021 season, when Jameis Winston was on pace for over 50 touchdown passes before suffering a torn ACL in Week 7.

It's understandable that people are skeptical the Broncos are going to be able to turn things around after what we saw last season, but Sean Payton's track record is such that you can almost take it to the bank that this is going to be a top-10 offensive unit. He simply hasn't had a multi-year sample as an NFL head coach of bad or even average offenses.