As the Denver Broncos suffer through what is almost certainly going to be another failed season, nearly every member of Broncos Country is adamantly calling for changes. But what changes, if any, take place, remains to be seen.
One important date to circle on the calendar is October 31, and not just because that's a day to dress up and go door-to-door and get candy. That day, at 2:00 p.m. MT, also marks this year's trade deadline.
If the Broncos are going to move some of their players in order to try and build toward the future by collecting draft picks, that will be the day to do it. And there really isn't a player on the roster who is off-limits in a potential trade.
After the season, more difficult decisions will need to be made but none will be bigger than what the team has to consider at the starting quarterback spot... once again. I am on the record as saying that the team needs to draft a quarterback in the first round no matter what and that won't change. But what will the team do with Russell Wilson?
Wilson's name has come up in trade talks ahead of the deadline, but that's incredibly unlikely as no team is going to entertain his contract. The Broncos will have the decision of cutting Wilson after the season and eating a ton of dead money or keeping him on the roster and seeing what can be made of a bad situation.
Either way, a quarterback still needs to be drafted because Wilson will be 35 years old next month and his best days are long behind him.
But as all of these players and general manager George Paton, who has put this roster together, wonder about their futures, there is one man in the organization who won't be going anywhere.
Head coach Sean Payton.
And though the question of Payton being dismissed has been asked, the answer is a resounding no. The Broncos gave up up a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 second-round pick in exchange for Payton and a 2024 third rounder. If you fired him after one season, that would look like one of the worst trades in NFL history, even worse than the one for Wilson.
Payton has struggled in his first year in Denver. His team is currently 1-5 and he has had to eat his words after making remarks toward former Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett. His status as a coaching "genius" has been fairly called into question.
But he's still not going anywhere.
Greg Penner has to believe he has his guy in Payton and he knows that the former New Orleans Saints head coach walked into a majority of this mess. So even if Payton were to finish this season with a record of 1-16, he still has that as an excuse.
Payton is going to need more time to have this roster built in his vision. He is going to need a new quarterback, regardless of how much better Wilson has looked as compared to last year. There is a high probability that he will have a new general manager in place as the team could (and should) move on from George Paton. Sean Payton would likely have a lot of influence on who that would be.
This is not Russell Wilson's team and it's not George Paton's team. Those guys, along with many others currently employed by the Broncos, are with the team on an increasingly temporary basis.
Payton is here to stay, unless he decides that he made a horrible career move and wants out himself.