Insider Says Broncos ‘Have a Budget’ In Pursuit of Sean Payton

Sean Payton

Getty Former New Orleans Saints HC Sean Payton arguing with a referee during a game.

The Denver Broncos have wrapped up their first-round of interviews in their search for a new head coach. At the top of the list for Denver it’s former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.

Even though the Broncos’ owners are the wealthiest in the NFL, Mike Klis of 9News mentioned on 104.3 The Fan in Denver on January 19, that there is a budget on how much they’ll spend on Payton.

“They have a budget too. I do not think that they’re going to go $25 million and I don’t think they’re going to get into a bidding thing.” Klis continued, “It comes down to, do you want the job or not and do you want it because of money or do you want it because you want to be a head coach and win that second Super Bowl and help this franchise here in Denver.”

The next question would be, will Denver spend up to $20 million for the former Super Bowl winning head coach?

“20 (million) maybe yes, that’s still maybe a million or so on the high side, but I wouldn’t be surprised with 20 (million).”

According to Jordan Schultz of The Score, Payton “Wants at least $20 million a year, but that’s also the going rate for a top tier head coach.”

The Saints Will Not Get Two First-Round Picks For Payton

New Orleans has given the Broncos an idea of what a trade would look like in exchange for Payton.

“Saints GM Mickey Loomis is seeking compensation similar to what the Oakland Raiders received from Tampa Bay in exchange for Jon Gruden in ’02, with two first-round draft picks being the starting point,” per Jeff Duncan of

According to ESPN’s NFL Insider Adam Schefter, two first-round picks is too much to get a deal done between Payton’s new team and the Saints.

“Sean is going to do the trade for Sean when he has a new team. Sean is not going to be of the mind that it’s good for him to go trade his next two first-round draft picks. With all due respect, I would be floored if they got two ones for him,” Schefter said.” Schefter said on 104.3 The Fan on January 19.

Klis even backed up Schefter’s report as well, “It’s not going to be two first-round draft picks.”

Denver Broncos Remain ‘Front Runner’ for Sean Payton

Denver seems to still be leading the way in the Payton sweepstakes, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post.

“The Broncos appear to be the front-runner for Sean Payton, at least in the early stages of the process. Payton likes the franchise’s stable ownership and would be happy to work with Russell Wilson,” said Maske on January 12.

One day after his interview with Denver, Maske tweeted, “The Broncos remain in very strong position to be able to get Sean Payton, whatever the interest level by other teams. They have the NFL’s wealthiest owners. Payton has told associates that he likes the Broncos’ stable ownership and is willing to work with Russell Wilson.”

During his radio interview with Cowherd, Payton was asked if ownership and the quarterback are the two most important things that matter to him, Payton agreed.

“If the quarterback is there, they’re probably a team that’s playing well. The teams that have openings, I’m not going to say are broken, but they’ve had problems. That’s why there’s an opening. I think that element is critical, the ownership element and philosophically.” Payton added, “It’s hard to win in this league and it’s certainly harder to win in this league if there’s internal problems before you even play an opponent.”

The battle for the former Super Bowl winning head coach will likely come down to the Broncos and Carolina Panthers. Both teams have the wealthiest owners in the NFL, with Denver leading the way, but it’s unclear if it will come down to money.

Per Shultz, “David Tepper, the Panthers’ owner, would go all in and basically do anything that Sean Payton wanted to get him. That’s how badly the Panthers want him. The question is, can they pry him away from Denver.”