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The Broncos Do Some More Dumb Shit To Get Sean Payton

5:46 PM EST on January 31, 2023

Sean Payton playing golf
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos earned their 5-12 season by making some poor choices last offseason. They traded away five draft picks to land a spent Russell Wilson, and then they handed the head coaching gig to Nathaniel Hackett, who was so bad at his job he couldn't even survive a full season. The Broncos maybe deserve some credit for recognizing their error and cutting Hackett loose quickly, but the way they went about resolving their latest search for a head coach shouldn't inspire much confidence going forward.

According to multiple reports, the Broncos have completed a trade for New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, who retired after the 2021 season but remained under contract with the Saints. The Broncos had to surrender another pair of draft picks in order to get their man:

At first glance, one could make an (admittedly, strained) argument for this move. Sure, the Broncos could have hired a number of other coaches without having to give up any more of their already diminished draft capital, but maybe they truly believe that Payton is the one guy capable of turning things around. If you've already wasted a bunch of picks to get Wilson, and then handed him a five-year, $242 million contract, why not empty the rest of the cupboard in order to get the one guy you believe can salvage your would-be franchise quarterback? The Broncos faced no bigger problem during the 2022 season than Wilson, who looked completely lost while throwing for a measly 16 touchdowns and leading the worst offense in the league. This team is going nowhere unless Wilson can reclaim some of his all-pro form, and if Payton is the best man for that job, then there's no reason not to pay a premium for his services.

Except, the Broncos might not even believe that Payton is the best man for the job.

Going by that sequence of events, hiring Payton was Plan C, or maybe even Plan D. You can tell that the Broncos front office is feeling tetchy today, because as soon as Rapoport sent that tweet, a few hometown reporters were told that the Broncos were actually focused on Payton the whole time. This was the plan all along, you see. Or at least it has been the plan for a few days.

No NFL front office wants their fans thinking that draft picks were spent in a moment of panic because they couldn't somehow convince DeMeco Ryans that working for the Broncos is better than working for the Texans. The team will spend the next few months trying to convince everyone that the deal for Payton was simply too good to pass up, but there's no reason to give the Broncos the benefit of the doubt here. General Manager George Paton has yet to make a single sound decision during his tenure in Denver, so why would he start now?

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