BRONCOS

Why have there been no new head coaching hires yet? ESPN’s Adam Schefter has an idea

Jan 23, 2023, 8:01 PM | Updated: 8:03 pm
Sean Payton...
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

A fortnight has passed since the offseason began. Four weeks have gone by since the Broncos sacked Nathaniel Hackett after 15 games. And so far, none of the head-coaching vacancies are filled.

“I don’t ever remember being into Conference Championship week and there’s not a single head coach who’s been hired to fill an opening,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Monday on The Drive with Derek Wolfe and DMac. “That has never happened before.”

There are multiple reasons for that, Schefter explained. And it’s not because everyone is waiting for the Sean Payton domino to fall first.

“I think the league has wanted the teams to be very thorough and very diligent and not rush anything. And I think that teams have been more thoughtful and more diligent.”

But it’s also about the candidate pool.

“I don’t know that there’s one candidate,” Schefter said. “Like, Sean Payton would be the guy that just pops. He’s the highest-profile name out there.”

Payton’s name stands above the rest for obvious reasons: a Super Bowl win, an extensive track record with quarterbacks, a 16-year run in New Orleans that saw him close with five consecutive winning seasons — including four-straight division titles from 2017-20.

“But, you’ve gotta compensate the Saints,” Schefter said. “If Sean Payton were a true free agent, he’d have been hired by now. Like, I don’t think there’s any doubt. Lock it up. But there are strings attached there. So, teams, I think are measuring that and being careful about that and weighing what to do — and then, when you get beyond that, it’s like, ‘Who really jumps out to you?’

“I don’t know that there are a lot of guys like that.”

And despite reports earlier Monday about Payton interviewing again with the Broncos later this week, Schefter doesn’t think their outlook has changed regarding their pursuit.

“I think that you’ve got a situation where it’s a moving target, and they’re going through their interviews, and he’s going through his interviews,” Schefter said.

“Look, I think that it tells you that right now, at this moment, it’s not hot-and-heavy torrid. That doesn’t mean it can’t change this week. It certainly could. But right at this moment? None of the five teams have been hot and heavy with anybody, right?

“This has been, I think, the slowest process of any [year]. Nobody so far has tipped their hand as to the direction that they’re gonna go. And we’ve been waiting to see how people are going to do this, what direction they’re going to go, but nobody so far has shown us where they’re at just yet. Doesn’t mean they won’t.”

And it doesn’t mean that can’t change soon.

“I do think that this is a week where all of the coaching news is going to start heating up,” Schemer said. “I think we’re going to start getting news and developments this week that will be important and telling and help settle the clouded, murky situation that currently exists.”

***
AND REGARDING PAYTON AND THE ARIZONA CARDINALS …

Schefter doesn’t see that as a fit, despite reports that Payton would interview in the desert this week.

“There’s been talk of that, and we’ll see whether or not that actually happens. I don’t know that that’s a viable landing spot for him. I don’t see that being the case. They hired their GM. Of all the places — Carolina’s in the division, so that’s challenging.

“Denver, I think is appealing. Houston, I think is appealing. Arizona — I don’t know that it would be as appealing as the other places. But, again, let’s see how the week shakes out.”

***

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Why have there been no new head coaching hires yet? ESPN’s Adam Schefter has an idea