BRONCOS

Schefter: Sean Payton will have options, but Broncos owners will pay big

Dec 8, 2022, 11:04 AM
Sean Payton...
(Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SiriusXM )
(Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SiriusXM )

ESPN’s Adam Schefter had a couple of newsworthy moments with Mark Schlereth and Mike Evans on 104.3 The Fan on Thursday morning.

The first was that Broncos general manager George Paton and quarterback Russell Wilson will both likely be back in 2023. With a 3-9 record, fans are hoping for big changes, but it sounds like the two of them are safe. Paton because he’s respected around the league and Wilson because his contract is essentially impossible to get out of.

However, the future of head coach Nathaniel Hackett is far more uncertain. Almost no one expects him to get a second season after this year has been a failure of epic proportions. And one of the hottest names on the market will be former New Orleans head coach Sean Payton. He’s working in the television world now, but Schefter told “Schlereth and Evans” that Payton wants to get  back on the sidelines.

“Well, I think he wants to coach. I will not be surprised if he’s back in the league next season. I think he is actively looking at all the potential options and scenarios that are out there and figuring out what’s best for him,” Schefter said.

That brings up the natural question: could Payton come to Denver? The Saints still own his rights, so it will require a trade with New Orleans for anyone to hire him. That could cost teams a premium draft pick. When the guys asked Schefter about Payton and the Broncos, he offered and lengthy and interesting answer.

“I don’t think that Denver will be the only option for him. And that’s where it gets interesting because whoever goes and gets Sean Payton is going to have to compensate the Saints with a pick or two. And compensate Sean Payton at a very high number, whatever that is,” Schefter said. “Now, I don’t think the Broncos ownership really cares about the compensation for Sean Payton. I don’t think that’s much of an issue here. That’s where Broncos fans are going to be very happy because I think this group is dedicated to doing whatever it has to do to get the best people, cost be damned.”

That is extremely encouraging for Broncos Country. When the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group (WPFOG) bought the team for $4.65 billion this summer, it was clear they’re extremely wealthy. But to hear Schefter say they’re willing to spend additional big bucks for the best people to run the franchise is another positive sign. It’s hard to doubt that was going to be the case, but now it’s confirmed.

So while Schefter wasn’t as definitive on this as he was saying Paton and Wilson will be back, he didn’t rule it out. Keep an eye on Payton and the Broncos over the next month or so.

Crazier things have happened.

***

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