BRONCOS

Report: Saints want ‘first-round pick and more’ for Sean Payton … and Broncos remain in the mix

Jan 7, 2023, 8:52 PM
Sean Payton...
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The price for Sean Payton’s services could be steep — in both financial compensation for the coach and trade value to the New Orleans Saints for his rights.

And the Broncos appear willing to play the game.

According to a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Saints want a “first-round pick and more” for the right to hire Payton … and the Broncos are still at the table.

The Broncos and Saints “appear to be on the same page about potential trade compensation,” Rapoport wrote.

That said, Rapoport also noted that the discussion between the clubs was characterized as an “initial conversation.” Further, given that no in-person interview can take place until Jan. 17, there appear to be guardrails that keep the process out of the fast lane.

Earlier Saturday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that New Orleans granted permission for Denver to interview Payton.

New Orleans can demand trade compensation because Payton departed after the 2021 season with three years left on his contract.

Trades for the rights to hire coaches have a fascinating history. In 2000, the New England Patriots surrendered, first-, fourth- and seventh-round picks to the New York Jets for the rights to Bill Belichick. New England also received fifth- and seventh-round picks. That worked out flawlessly for the Patriots, as six Super Bowl wins attest.

Two years later, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shipped two first-round picks, two second-round choices and $8 million to the then-Oakland Raiders for the right to hire Jon Gruden. While the draft compensation decimated the Bucs’ long-term roster-building work, they won a Super Bowl in Gruden’s first year on the job. And of course, a Lombardi Trophy is forever.

In 2006, the Kansas City Chiefs sent a fourth-round choice to the Jets for Herman Edwards. Edwards guided Kansas City to a playoff appearance in his first year on the job. But two losing seasons followed, and the Chiefs sacked him after a 2-14 finish in 2008.

So, since 2000, when you trade for a coach, you get what you pay for. If the Broncos try to land Payton, they hope for a similar success to reflect the price.

But one thing is clear: The Broncos are not backing away from the table.

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