Sean Payton to become Broncos’ next head coach after Saints, Denver reportedly finalize trade compensation

Sean Payton is set to become the next head coach for the Denver Broncos, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones. The New Orleans Saints and Broncos have finalized trade compensation for head coach Sean Payton, according to ESPN, removing the final hurdle for Payton to become Denver’s next head coach.

Adam Schefter adds that the trade calls for Denver’s first-round pick from San Francisco (No. 30 overall) and a 2024 second-round pick will be sent to New Orleans for their 2024 third-round pick. 

Payton, 59, last coached for the Saints in 2021 but remains under contract, which is why a trade needs to be negotiated. The Eastern Illinois grad’s NFL coaching career began in 1997 with the Eagles. His 15-year journey across the league included three-quarters of the NFC East, excluding Washington, before his run as Saints’ head coach in 2013. 

While with New Orleans, he compiled a 152-89 record (.631 winning percentage) and a 9-8 record in the playoffs. The Saints were victorious in Super Bowl XLIV. He led the franchise through the Hurricane Katrina aftermath before getting caught up in the 2012 bounty scandal. Payton was suspended for the entire season, which gave him the honor of being the first head coach in the modern era to be suspended. The Associated Press bestowed Coach of the Year honors upon him in 2006 after his team went 10-6.

Under the direction of Payton and, largely, quarterback Drew Brees, the New Orleans offense ranked second in points per game (27.5), first in yards per game (391.4), first in third-down conversion (45.4%) and red zone conversion (61.1%) from 2006-2021. 

Russell Wilson struggled in his first season with Denver since being acquired via trade with Seattle. He completed just 60% of his passes for 16 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and an 84.4 passer rating; all ranked 25th or worse across the league. Wilson went 4-11 as a starter resulting in the eventual firing of first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett. 

The No. 30 overall selection has now changed hands on three separate occasions. It was originally held by San Francisco before being sent to Miami as part of the trade package that allowed the 49ers to select quarterback Trey Lance. The Dolphins then sent it to the Broncos in exchange for edge rusher Bradley Chubb. Now, it is sent to New Orleans as part of the Payton trade. 

New Orleans was without a first-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft following the decision to acquire a second first-round selection from Philadelphia last year. The Eagles hold the No. 10 overall selection as a result. Denver is once again without a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft after sending their own to the Seahawks as part of the Russell Wilson trade.

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