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The Denver Broncos Received Permission To Interview Former Saints Coach Sean Payton

Two weeks ago, the Denver Broncos fired first year head coach Nathaniel Hackett after just 15 games, with a blowout loss on Christmas to Baker Mayfield and the L.A. Rams proving to be the final straw for the embattled coach. Denver’s 4-11 record was a far cry from where they expected to be this offseason when they shipped multiple first round picks to Seattle for Russell Wilson, hoping to be a factor in the AFC West.

Instead, they’ll be sending a top-5 pick the Seahawks way and cannot help but be fully committed to Wilson given his massive extension they inked him to this offseason. As such, they have to find a new coaching staff that can come in and unlock whatever Wilson has left to offer to try and maximize their situation, and it appears their top target is a former Super Bowl winner. On Saturday, Adam Schefter reported former Saints coach Sean Payton, who retired after the 2021 season and has spent the year doing TV for FOX, was set to interview with the Broncos after Denver received permission to interview him later this month.

Payton’s track record speaks for itself — as does the struggles New Orleans has had in his absence offensively — and while his past isn’t without some controversy, as the recipient of a year-long suspension for Bountygate, he’s about as highly regarded as offensive coaches come. The real question likely isn’t whether Denver wants to hire Payton, but whether the Broncos are the team Payton wants to make his return to the NFL with. There are real questions about whether Wilson is cooked, and while Payton has experience getting the most out of an aging QB (as he did with Drew Brees), whether he wants to try that again with a guy he’s never worked with is another question.

Payton figures to be at the top of a number of coaching wishlists, but Denver will get first crack at an interview with him to gauge where he’s at and what he believes Wilson and the team could be under his watch.

(P.S., it is never not a good time to remind everyone that there is a movie about Sean Payton that they chose Kevin James to star in.)