According to the Washington Posts Mark Maske, while Sean Payton liked the idea of coaching quarterback Russell Wilson and having that defense, Payton feared a potential power struggle with a member of the Denver Broncos ownership group. The two-sides seem to have cooled on each other and this could be one of the reasons why.
The Panthers are no longer an option for Sean Payton. And there was an issue with Payton's interview with the Broncos. Payton likes the idea of coaching Russell Wilson and having that defense but fears a potential power struggle with a member of the ownership group, source says.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) January 26, 2023
As for the member of the ownership group, that has to be CEO/Owner Greg Penner. He is the one running the day-to-day operations and leading this coaching search. Penner also stated in a press conference that the new coach would answer to him directly so that probably did not sit well with Payton. Also, Maske later tweeted out that Payton “loved” his interactions with Condoleezza Rice, but left out Penner who was the only other owner Payton met with.
From the start, it has been said and reported that Payton would want full control over the team he lands with, but apparently, full control was not offered with the Broncos. That is speculation on my part but seems to be what the tweet is implying.
It is interesting that this comes out now, but just last week after their meeting, it was leaked/reported that both sides came away impressed with each other and there was sincere mutual interest. Either, that was not completely true, or something changed between now and then. In the end, this seems like more of the media-leaking game that Payton and the Broncos have engaged in recently and likely a sign that their potential partnership is all but dead.
If a power struggle was an issue, it is probably best not to move forward with that. The Broncos have seen enough dysfunction in recent years and we do not need that with a coach, especially one that would require multiple draft picks to acquire. Also, there has to be a reason why five franchises passed on a top head coach who would improve their teams almost immediately.
With the Broncos likely moving on from Sean Payotn, it appears they have set their eyes on 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans instead. He is an impressive young candidate that will allow the Broncos to keep their draft picks.
Sean Payton tweeted this evening that there is “zero truth to this” and that he had a great visit with the Broncos and their ownership was fantastic.
I do not know what to believe anymore with this so I will leave you to come to your own conclusions.