Sean Payton, Denver Broncos, A Destined Fit

Sean Payton Broncos

Since the retirement of quarterback Peyton Manning, the Broncos have struggled to find answers at the two most important parts of any team: head coach and quarterback. For better or worse, the team is stuck with Russell Wilson in 2023, and Sean Payton could be the head coach that can bring out the best in the Broncos quarterback.

The Denver Broncos Need Sean Payton

Despite the lofty expectations coming into the season, Wilson had by far his worst statistical season. He ultimately threw for only 16 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions, while leading the team to an extremely disappointing 4-11 record as the starter.

Meanwhile, the Broncos offense finished last in the league with a paltry 16.9 points per game. Moreover, the blame for this nightmarish season can almost solely be attributed to the offense. If they had scored at least 18 points in regulation in each game they played, they would have finished with a 12-5 record.

As a result, the team fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett after the team got embarrassed by a shorthanded Rams team 51-14 on Christmas Day. As Hackett was constantly overmatched in his first year as a head coach, the team is now searching for an established coach that can rehabilitate Wilson and this offense.

Where is Sean Payton Now?

After coaching the New Orleans Saints between 2006 and 2021, including a 2009 Super Bowl Championship, Sean Payton decided to take a step back from coaching last year. Following his ongoing stint as an analyst for Fox Sports, Payton is reportedly interested in returning as a coach.

Thus far, Sean Payton has completed interviews with the Broncos, Texans, and Panthers. He is also scheduled to interview with the Cardinals on Thursday.

The Broncos are currently the presumptive favorites to land Payton, as they are scheduled to have a second interview with him in the near future. However, Payton is allegedly content with staying on as an analyst at Fox for another year and waiting until the ideal situation emerges.

Why Sean Payton Would Be An Ideal Fit With Denver Broncos

With the significant long-term financial commitment the Broncos have made to Russell Wilson, it is extremely unlikely they would be able to part with him in the next two years. As such, it would be in their best interest to hire a coach who can maximize Wilson’s talents and abilities, however diminished they may currently be.

Sean Payton, during his long-term tenure with the Saints, found immense success in running an offense that played to the strengths of another short-statured quarterback in Drew Brees. Unlike Hackett, Payton has demonstrated he can put his players in a position to succeed. In his time with the Saints, his offenses consistently ranked atop the league leaders in metrics such as points scored, red zone efficiency, and total touchdowns, all areas in which the Broncos struggled this season.

Russell Wilson himself has reportedly stated that Payton would be his desired coach. Although much has been said about Wilson’s behavior within the organization and amongst his teammates, his apparent willingness to be coached indicates that he understands he needs to improve.

The Broncos must act with urgency to ensure this Wilson trade does not turn into a historic disaster. In order to prevent a repeat of last season, they must do whatever it takes to acquire Sean Payton.

Pay for Payton?

Since Sean Payton is currently under contract with the Saints through 2024, any team looking to hire him would have to part with draft assets in order to acquire him. The Saints are reportedly looking for a mid-late first round pick and an additional pick for Payton’s services.

Although the Broncos traded much of their premium draft capital for Russell Wilson, they acquired San Francisco’s 2023 first-round pick after sending Bradley Chubb to the Dolphins. With this trade, they have sufficient draft assets should they decide to get Payton.

Moreover, Sean Payton is looking to be one of the highest-paid coaches at a salary of around $20-$25 million per season. However, with the deep pockets of the Broncos new ownership group, along with their desire to drastically improve, the Broncos are the likeliest team to meet Payton’s high asking price.

Sean Payton, No Matter What

With all these considerations in mind, the Broncos must do whatever is necessary to secure Sean Payton as their next head coach. If the Broncos want to turn the page on last season and compete with the high-powered Chiefs and Chargers in their division, they must hire someone to help Wilson regain his form and put the offense in a schematic position to succeed.

Luckily, Payton is currently available and has consistently proven to be one of the greatest offensive minds in league history. Given that the Broncos have the financial capital and draft assets to make it happen, the Broncos cannot let this opportunity slip. If they fail to capitalize, they will likely experience more seasons similar to the last one.

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