Insider Says ‘Everything Is Lining Up’ for Sean Payton to Join Broncos

Sean Payton

Getty Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.

As the Denver Broncos continue their head coaching search, one of the top candidates on their list seems to be gaining some traction.

Things are looking good for the Broncos to land former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said on the January 18 episode of “The Insiders.”

“It sure seems like if Sean Payton is going to take a job in this cycle. Everything is lining up for Denver,” Pelissero said, “including the fact that their other top candidate besides Dan Quinn, Cowboys defensive coordinator, is Jim Harbaugh, who once things didn’t advance quickly enough decided, ‘Peace out, I’m going back to Michigan.'”

Payton had been identified as the Broncos’ top target (along with Harbaugh), according to a January 3 item by Mike Klis of Denver’s 9News. And the Broncos interviewed Payton on January 17 in Los Angeles, with the interview lasting “several hours,” according to Peter Schrager of Fox Sports.

Sean Payton Reveals His Price Tag

Payton, who remains under contract with the Saints, suggested during his January 16 appearance on FS1’s “The Herd” what it would cost a team to trade for him.

“I think ultimately the compensation for the Saints would be a mid or later first-round pick,” Payton told host Colin Cowherd.

Currently, Denver owns the 29th overall pick in the first round after they traded away pass rusher Bradley Chubb to the Miami Dolphins.

Along with the Broncos, Payton was scheduled to interview with the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers this week, he told Cowherd. The Texans currently own the No. 2 and No. 12 overall picks while the Panthers own the No. 9 overall pick in the 2023 draft.

According to a January 1 report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, New Orleans has kept close tabs on what other franchises received for other top coaching candidates.

“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

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.

According to Duncan, two sources have told him that Payton will be seeking a four-year deal worth between $20 million and $25 million. This would make him one of the highest paid coaches in the NFL.

The Broncos will interview San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans on January 19 and Quinn on January 20 to close out their interview search before doing a second round of interviews.