NFL Insider Diana Russini of The Athletic was on the Pat McAfee show earlier this week and had some interesting information about Sean Payton and Russell Wilson. I never really understood the people who said that Sean Payton didn't want to work with Russell Wilson or that Payton thinks the QB is washed.
I truly saw a lot of that on social media, which baffled me. Why would Payton take this job in the first place, also knowing that the Broncos had to give up draft capital to facilitate the trade if he thought that Russell Wilson was no good anymore? If you think about it, those who claimed that were really just making no sense at all.
In fact, Payton is on record many times praising his quarterback, and Payton's rugged, Parcells-ian personality wasn't seen as a fit for Russell Wilson and his politician-like posture. Wilson is almost too positive for some people and clearly cares a lot about his image.
But that isn't necessarily who Payton is as a person and coach, so questions about how they'd work together were valid at the time. However, we recently got some information regarding their relationship from Diana Russini, who is an insider for The Athletic. This is what she had to say about the two on a recent appearance on the Pat McAfee show
She even went as far as to say they get along "really well." And I'm really not surprised, either. If you remember back a few years ago, a substantiated report had leaked that Russell Wilson, who was on the Seattle Seahawks at the time, would have accepted a trade to the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, or Las Vegas Raiders.
When that report surfaced, the relationship between Wilson and the Seahawks was probably beyond repair. Anyway, why would Wilson have initially been open to go to New Orleans? The obvious answer is that it was at the time a stable organization with Sean Payton at head coach.
Wilson had worked with a defensive head coach for his entire career in Seattle in Pete Carroll, and wanted to finally get the chance to work with a sharp offensive mind, which is who Payton is. Now, the two are working together in Denver, and according to Russini, are off to a great start. Is the offense perfect? No, not even close, but it's clear to see how much better Russell Wilson is playing this year than he was in 2022.
He's got nearly identical numbers to Patrick Mahomes and is on pace to throw for 34 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards in 2023. I don't think Sean Payton is eagerly waiting for the opportunity to get Wilson off the team, and this report from Russini proves just that.