The Denver Broncos would be wise to immediately exit the Sean Payton sweepstakes.

Denver is currently viewed by many as the favorite to land Payton. And it’s not that I think he’s a bad coach — his results say otherwise. But the Broncos still need to run from this situation.

Like most decisions, this comes down to money.

Zac Stevens, a Broncos beat writer, reported on Wednesday night that Payton is looking to be paid around $20 million per year to return to coaching.

That’s $6 million more per year than Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, last year’s Super Bowl winner, is earning annually.

That’s absolutely absurd. I think Payton is a good coach who could make the Broncos relevant in the AFC West. But he’s not a miracle worker. And he’s definitely not a guy that’s “guaranteed” to bring a Super Bowl to Denver.

Payton has almost the exact same resumé as Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy.

And if the Cowboys lose to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs this weekend, there’s a chance Dallas fires McCarthy (ironically, they’d likely end up pursuing Payton in that situation).

Let’s compare what Payton and McCarthy have done in their careers.

Payton (2006-2011, 2013-2021):

  • Regular season: 152-89 (.631)
  • Playoffs: 9-8 (.529)
  • Super Bowl wins: 1 (2009 season)
  • Division titles: 7

McCarthy (2006-2022):

  • Regular season: 155-96-2 (.617)
  • Playoffs: 11-9 (.550)
  • Super Bowl wins: 1 (2010 season)
  • Division titles: 7

It’s almost the exact same resumé! And both coaches had transcendent future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers for most of their coaching careers.

I mean, the Broncos could have McCarthy for a much cheaper price.

It’s laughable that Payton expects to be paid that much per year to return to coaching. I’d tell him to find a TV gig if I ran a team that was looking for a coach.

Whoever hires Payton is going to get a coach that’s in the playoff picture most years, but gets bounced from the postseason in the first round or two. It’s what he’s done his entire career — why should anyone expect it to change now?

The Broncos need to forget about trying to land a “big name” and just go after the coach that gives them the best chance to win the Super Bowl.

Featured image via Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

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