The Denver Broncos aren’t getting in a hurry to hire a new head coach to replace Nathaniel Hackett.
Denver is taking the process slow to ensure they make the right decision.
For now, former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton appears to be the favorite to land in Denver.
Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd even suggested this week that the job is Payton’s if he wants it.
Colin Cowherd: "I have been told, the Broncos have made a decision. They want Sean Payton. Russell Wilson has told the Broncos owners he wants Sean Payton."— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) January 24, 2023
"I think the deal would be done today if Sean Payton said, 'Alright I'm your coach.' And he may!"
Payton landing in Denver, however, isn’t guaranteed to happen.
In fact, it’s not guaranteed that Payton will even return to coaching this offseason.
ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler said on Wednesday that some folks around the league are wondering if Payton waits until next offseason to return when some more attractive jobs could be open.
The low total of head-coaching jobs this cycle already has people around the league evaluating next year’s potentially loaded class. The carousel was due a market correction after 10 jobs opened last year, with buyout money approaching $1 million over a five-year span. But next year’s cycle could create eight to 10 openings, including some high-profile jobs. The Rams, Chargers and Cowboys did not end up opening this time. The Packers, Browns and Jets have head coaches with tenure coming off losing seasons. That doesn’t mean these franchises are looking to make a change, but they at least belong on the radar. So, if you’re Sean Payton, does it make sense to wait 12 months, return to Fox as an analyst for the 2023 season and pair with a franchise positioned better for success? That’s a question some people are asking this week.
That’s an angle that I don’t think folks have really considered. Not only could Payton have some different options on the table next offseason, but the compensation to acquire him from the Saints might not be as steep (he’s under contract with New Orleans through the 2024 season).
It’s still anyone’s guess as to how this plays out. Payton holds all the chips. And right now, it seems that reports about what he wants are all over the place.
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