Sean Payton's NFL legacy could hinge on Bo Nix or Dak Prescott

Is it possible that someone other than Bo Nix could make or break Sean Payton's NFL legacy?
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Cindy Ord/GettyImages

Sean Payton is putting a ton of faith into rookie QB Bo Nix, but if he does not work out, could his NFL legacy hinge on Dak Prescott? Let me explain.

For years in New Orleans, Sean Payton and Drew Brees tore apart defenses like it was tying their shoes. Both carved out Hall of Fame resumes working with each other. When Brees retired, Payton still proved that he was a very good head coach, going 9-8 in 2021 with New Orleans primarily starting backup QBs.

And then in 2023 with the Broncos, managed to go 8-9 after a 1-5 start, and somehow got Russell Wilson playing at a serviceable level. Overall, though, Payton still has some doubters out there that say he was made by Drew Brees. Either way, Sean Payton needs to build something else post-Drew Brees, and a 17-17 regular season record will need to improve.

It's easy to see why Bo Nix could push Payton's NFL legacy over the edge. Payton and the Denver Broncos were very high on Nix, and they took him 12th overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. It's no secret that Sean Payton and the Broncos will do a lot of winning if Bo Nix is a legit NFL star. However, there's always a chance that he totally flops in the NFL.

There is a chance that Nix looks totally lost and overwhelmed during his rookie season, which might force Payton to immediately turn his attention to a certain QB who is slated to be a free agent in 2025, and that'd be Dak Prescott. If Sean Payton senses that Nix isn't going to make it in the NFL as a starter, could he make the bold move to pursue Prescott in free agency?

Well yes, this could only happen if Dak Prescott indeed hits the free agency market, but with no extension in sight from the Dallas Cowboys, it's possible. Prescott actually fits the Sean Payton QB archetype quite well. Prescott is just other-worldly pre-snap and is surgical from within the pocket. He's also got functional mobility and can make plays with his legs if needed.

With Prescott already being established, Payton might have to make a huge move to preserve his NFL legacy beyond 2024.