Sean Payton shocks everyone with comment about trading up in 2024 NFL Draft

Sean Payton said what about trading up?

Denver Broncos, Sean Payton
Denver Broncos, Sean Payton / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton doesn't seem nearly as frazzled as the fan base when it comes to the quarterback dilemma the team is currently in. Payton, speaking at the NFL owner's meetings, stated that he'd rather have this "angst" about the QB position now than in September or October. He also sounds like he's ready and willing to make a move to get his guy if need be.

All offseason, it has felt like the Broncos are in a poor position with the 12th overall pick due to the volume of teams in front of them that need a quarterback. But there are teams within the top 10 of the 2024 NFL Draft -- some even in the top five -- that have openly stated they are willing to trade down and that their phone line is open. But trading up comes at a premium cost when you're talking about the quarterback position, so nobody has really given much thought to the idea that the Broncos -- who have no 2nd-round pick in 2024 -- could actually move up.

But Broncos head coach Sean Payton says it's "realistic".

Payton's history dealing with current Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort is interesting, to say the least. From 2015-2017, the Saints and Patriots made a number of notable deals:

"March 2017: Acquired Brandin Cooks and fourth-round pick from New Orleans in exchange for first-round pick and third-round pick.

April 2016: Acquired third-round pick and fourth-round pick – guard Joe Thuney and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell – from New Orleans in exchange for second-round pick.

October 2015: Acquired defensive tackle Akiem Hicks from New Orleans in exchange for tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.

September 2015: Acquired wide receiver Jalen Saunders from New Orleans in exchange for conditional late-round draft pick."

via Pats Pulpit

Going even further back, the Saints once acquired the 28th overall pick from the Patriots in the 2011 NFL Draft in exchange for a 2nd-round pick and 2012 first-round pick.

Needless to say, there is clear history between Payton and Ossenfort, even if those guys weren't exactly on the phone talking to each other. Payton casually dropping it in his quote that he and Ossenfort are on a first-name basis is something worth noting.

When it comes to making trades in the NFL, relationship equity often matters. You want to know who you're dealing with and trust who you're dealing with. The more mutual respect you have, the less likely you are to get raked over the coals when it comes to value.

It's fascinating that Payton's immediate reaction to trading up was to say that it's "realistic". That could mean a number of things. Does it mean he's already had those discussions? Does it mean that he knows the Cardinals (or some other team) have gotten fair offers? Does he already know of another team that's ready to trade up?

This is lying season when it comes to the NFL and NFL Draft. Perhaps Payton is just trying to drive up the price for some other team to trade up so a player he wants will fall into his lap. Who knows?

Ultimately, it's worth reading into a little bit because the Broncos have sat out the veteran QB derby to this point, and it seems obvious that they are going to find a way to come out of this NFL Draft with a starting-caliber quarterback.