DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver Broncos have reportedly reached a deal to hire Sean Payton as head coach and will send draft picks to the New Orleans Saints.
Payton had stepped down as the Saints head coach last season and had been working in broadcasting this season. He remained under contract with New Orleans.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said in a tweet Tuesday, “Saints and Broncos are finalizing compensation in return for Super Bowl-winning HC Sean Payton, sources tell ESPN. This clears the way for Payton to sign with the Broncos to become Denver’s next head coach. And so Payton is expected to head to Denver as its next HC.”
A person with knowledge of the agreement spoke with The Associated Press Tuesday, confirming the deal. That person, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Broncos will send their first-round pick, No. 29 overall, in this year’s draft to the Saints along with a future second-rounder.
The Broncos parted ways with rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett on Dec. 26 after finishing the season with a 4-11 record while he was at the helm.
Hackett, now offensive coordinator for the New York Jets, was replaced by senior assistant coach Jerry Rosburg as the interim head coach. The Broncos narrowly lost to the Kansas City Chiefs and beat the Los Angeles Chargers under Rosburg to end the season 5-12.
With Rosburg in charge, quarterback Russell Wilson looked more like the nine-time Pro Bowler he was with the Seattle Seahawks in the 27-24 loss at Kansas City and a 31-28 win over the Chargers, giving the team a glimmer of hope that his poor performance in 2022 was more about a bad fit than a slippage of his skills.
Along with Payton, the organization had conversations with Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
Payton also interviewed for the Carolina Panthers’ head coaching vacancy.
Team plagued with injuries
The Broncos’ dismal season wasn’t all on Hackett but the team knew it needed to make a change. With a league-high 22 players on injured reserve, including Garett Bolles, Javonte Williams and Tim Patrick, the team was already at a disadvantage.
Several players missed multiple games during the season because of injuries, which severely weakened an already thin offense, but the defense remained solid throughout the season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.