NFL Rumors: Broncos Receive Permission from Saints to Interview Sean Payton

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 7, 2023

FILE - Sean Payton reacts during an NFL football press conference announcing his resignation as head coach of the New Orleans Saints, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, in Metairie, La. Sean Payton isn't on the sidelines this season, but he will have a great viewing spot for games on Sunday. The former New Orleans Saints coach will spending his weekends on the Fox Sports set in Los Angeles as a studio analyst for their NFL shows. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle, File)
AP Photo/Derick Hingle, File

The Denver Broncos have been granted permission to speak with former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton for their open head coaching position, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

The Denver Broncos requested and received permission from the New Orleans Saints to interview Sean Payton for their head coach job, league sources tell ESPN.<br><br>The NFL ruled that any in-person interview with Payton cannot be conducted until at least January 17, per sources.

Payton served as the Saints' head coach from 2006 to 2021, amassing a 152-89 record and guiding New Orleans to seven NFC South division titles and one Super Bowl victory.

He stepped down as the team's head coach after the 2021 campaign, but he's still under contract with the Saints through 2024 after signing a five-year extension in 2019.

Therefore, NFL teams need to receive permission from the Saints to speak with him.

The NFL found that Miami Dolphins did not receive that permission when it spoke to Payton's agent, Don Yee, about the potential of becoming the team's head coach last offseason. They were stripped of their 2023 first-round draft pick and 2024 third-round pick, and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was suspended and also fined $1.5 million.

But the Broncos are cleared to speak with Payton. Schefter gave more context on compensation for the Saints if talks between Denver and Payton prove fruitful.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Broncos and Saints do not have to - and haven't - agreed to the compensation that would go to New Orleans if Denver hired Sean Payton, per sources. This would come later if talks between Denver and Payton go well. <a href="https://t.co/yiMzjCuRnl">https://t.co/yiMzjCuRnl</a>

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports the Saints want a first-round pick and more in exchange for Payton.

Denver is in need of a new head coach after parting ways with Nathaniel Hackett following a 4-11 start in his first season at the helm. The Broncos have the lowest-scoring offense in football despite adding nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson via trade from the Seattle Seahawks this offseason, and they need someone to help turn the scoring attack around.

Payton, an offensive guru, oversaw some of the most explosive offenses in football during his time in New Orleans, when quarterback Drew Brees was calling signals.

The Saints were top-10 in scoring for an entire decade (2011-2020) under Payton, and the Broncos could use his tutelage.

For now, the 4-12 Broncos will close the season Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.