According to the Washington Posts, Mark Maske, the Denver Broncos appear to be the front runners to get Head Coach Sean Payton, at least in the early stages. He goes on to say that Payton likes the Broncos' stable ownership and would be happy to work with quarterback Russell Wilson.
The Broncos appear to be the front-runner for Sean Payton, at least in the early stages of the process. Payton likes the franchise's stable ownership and would be happy to work with Russell Wilson, source says.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) January 13, 2023
With rumors swirling that Jim Harbaugh might be working on a new deal to return to Michigan, a report drops indicating that the Broncos appear to be the front runners to acquire Head Coach Sean Payton.
From the start, the Broncos' search appeared to be Payton or Harbaugh, or bust, and bust likely not being an option for the new wealthy owners. At times it has seemed like Payton was the front-runner while at other times it appeared that it would be Harbaugh in the end. Well, with this report mixed with the Harbaugh rumors, it appears the Payton is once again their top choice.
It does make sense.
The Broncos were the first team to reach out and get permission to speak to Sean Payton. They reportedly are already on the same page in potential compensation for Payton. They are the first team to actually have an in-person interview with Payton, and he reportedly likes the Broncos' ownership and has no issues working with quarterback Russell Wilson. Also, the Broncos' wealthy owners can cut him the big check that he likely desires to lock him up as the team’s next Head Coach for the foreseeable future.
Maske even notes that even if the Cowboys lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this upcoming Monday and they fire Mike McCarthy that Payton may still pick the Broncos.
It will be interesting if the Cowboys end up moving on from Mike McCarthy and enter the bidding for Sean Payton. They clearly would be a contender. But even if that occurs, it's possible that Payton would opt for the Broncos.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) January 13, 2023
Now, this report has language like “appears” and “may” in it that leaves a bit of wiggle room but it does make sense.
The competition, as of now, is the Arizona Cardinals and the Houston Texans. The Cardinals have Kiff Kingsbury’s big contract on the books already and appear to be interviewing General Managers before interviewing coaches. Payton would want full control of the team and roster, so this could be an issue for them. As for the Texans, that is a rebuilding project from top to bottom. They do have the second overall pick, but a dysfunctional front office and team likely makes them a longshot to acquire Payton.
If the Rams become available, maybe he considers them, but they appear to be a rebuilding project as well. This is a reason why Sean McVay may step away from this team and the same reason why Payton stepped away from the Saints last year. So, I do not see him walking back into a similar situation with the Rams.
So, we shall see where this ends up. The Broncos will interview Payton next Tuesday in Los Angeles. We should hopefully have an answer sometime soon after that.