And we’re off. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the New Orleans Saints have granted the Denver Broncos’ interview request with Sean Payton concerning their head coach opening, though any discussions must be held virtually — NFL rules disallow in-person meetings until at least Jan. 17.
It means the Broncos do, in fact, have enough draft picks to trade for Payton after acquiring Russell Wilson in a blockbuster 2022 trade with the Seattle Seahawks; New Orleans wouldn’t be allowing Payton to talk with interested teams without first knowing what they have to offer in a trade for his services. Denver gained a pick late in the first round of April’s draft from the San Francisco 49ers (who had sent it to the Miami Dolphins) in a midseason trade for star pass rusher Bradley Chubb. So they could offer the Saints a 2023 first rounder, either of their two 2023 third rounders, and any of their picks 2024’s first, second, third, and fourth rounds. They don’t lack for draft assets.
Payton would be brought in to fix the embattled franchise quarterback, and he casually laid out his plan for starting that process in a recent interview with Colin Cowherd. Money shouldn’t be an issue for the new Broncos ownership group even after the Broncos invested a ton into Wilson, who is probably the most experienced passer that Payton could hope to team up with this offseason. We’ll see if anything develops on this front, but for now, the Broncos are out in front.