Rapoport: Both Sean Payton and Jim Harbaugh still “options” for Broncos

Jan 31, 2023, 11:07 AM

Maybe Jim Harbaugh is still alive to be the next head coach of the Denver Broncos?

One day after ESPN’s Adam Schefter told “The Drive” on 104.3 The Fan that Harbaugh is no longer a candidate, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport sung a different tune on the Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday morning.

Speaking with McAfee about Harbaugh and Sean Payton, Rapoport said he’s not ready to rule out either guy, at least until they firmly re-commit to their current gigs.

“When Harbaugh officially signs his deal I will eliminate him, but I don’t think that’s been eliminated 1,000 percent. And Sean Payton has not been eliminated. So, until Sean says ‘I’m definitely going back to TV’ or until Harbaugh says ‘we’re good and I’m definitely going back to Michigan,’ those are still options,” Rapoport said.

As far as where things stand on the coaching search overall, Rapoport offered two different theories.

“There are two things that could be happening right now, and they are opposite. One, Denver is collecting itself and getting ready to put in new slips to restart their search. Or, they are going to someone who has not yet been eliminated. Many of the candidates have been eliminated,” Rapoport said.

Candidates that have reportedly been eliminated include the likes of Raheem Morris, David Shaw, Jim Caldwell and Ejiro Evero. Payton and Harbaugh reportedly remain alive, with DeMeco Ryans almost assuredly headed to Houston. Jerry Robsurg could be lurking, but that feels likes a long-shot.

As far as a potential “mystery candidate” goes, Rapoport doesn’t sound like he buys it.

“I was told very strongly it’s not someone we don’t know,” Rapoport said.

What does that mean? Well, apparently the next coach of the Broncos will be one of the names listed above, with Harbaugh and Payton still in the mix.



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Rapoport: Both Sean Payton and Jim Harbaugh still “options” for Broncos