NFL DRAFT 2023

Another Sean Payton reunion as Broncos trade for ex-Saints tight end

Apr 29, 2023, 2:47 PM | Updated: 2:48 pm

There’s a lot that’s new for Sean Payton in Denver. But he’s got plenty of old friends — on both his staff and the roster.

Last month, Denver’s free-agent pickups included TE Chris Manhertz, RB Tony Jones Jr., FB Michael Burton, WRs Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Marquez Callaway. All crossed paths with Payton in New Orleans at some point.

Now, add Adam Trautman to the mix. The Broncos traded for the 2020 third-round pick just as they went on the clock at the No. 195 selection Saturday.

Denver moved down 62 slots to acquire Trautman.

The fourth-year tight end started 28 games for the Saints in the last three seasons, including a career-high 12 last year. He played in 57 percent of their snaps last season and a career-high 76 percent in 2021, Payton’s last season as New Orleans’ head coach.

And like Manhertz, Trautman has distinguished himself as a blocker. The 6-foot-5, 253-pounder emerged as a dependable run-blocking presence as a rookie. He steadily improved as a pass blocker, although he did allow two sacks in 59 pass-protection snaps last season, per data compiled by Pro Football Focus.

The Dayton product has yet to emerge as a consistent pass-catching threat. He has four touchdowns and 641 yards on 60 career receptions over 43 games.

Trautman is in the final year of his rookie contract. In other words, he’s at the prove-it juncture of his career. But now he’ll have that chance with the coach who drafted him, in a tight-end room that has plenty of competition and three players selected in the last four drafts — but perhaps not any clear answers just yet.

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