The dots are connecting for former Saints HC and Super Bowl XLIV champion Sean Payton to land with the Denver Broncos.
After Payton interviewed with Denver on Tuesday, NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero reported, "It sure seems like if Payton is going to take a job in this cycle, everything is lining up for Denver."
"Payton was particularly impressed with the Broncos group, who he met with for several hours. He likes majority owner Rob Walton and the management team Denver has assembled," wrote longtime New Orleans sportswriter Jeff Duncan.
Denver plans to interview San Francisco defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans on Thursday and Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn on Friday, but Payton is probably its top candidate.
He's one of the few candidates who can fix beleaguered Denver QB Russell Wilson, who posted career lows in passing touchdowns (16), completion percentage (60.5) and passer rating (84.4) for an offense that ranked last in 2022.
Payton became a respected offensive guru thanks to his work in New Orleans. The Saints gained an NFL record 7,474 yards of total offense in 2011. Former QB Drew Brees never registered 4,000 regular-season passing yards during five seasons in San Diego. He hit that mark 12 times in 15 seasons with Payton.
Payton is under contract through 2024, so New Orleans expects compensation such as a first-round pick. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Denver is willing to accept this.
Payton's brilliance comes at a price, but Denver could use it. The Broncos have missed the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons.
According to Oddschecker, he has the second-best odds to become Denver's next HC behind Quinn.
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