Sean Payton will join the Denver Broncos as head coach after they agreed compensation with the 59-year-old’s former team, the New Orleans Saints, according to reports from ESPN and NFL Network.
Payton was under contract with the Saints, despite stepping down last season and was working as a broadcaster this season.
In a 15-year stint with the franchise, he took the Saints to the playoffs nine times winning a single Super Bowl in 2010.
“This was the opportunity I was looking for,” Payton said to NOLA.com. “It’s a great fanbase and great tradition. The ownership group is fantastic, and I love the way they competed in some of their games last year.”
He joins a Broncos team in desperate need of an uplift.
Denver finished the season 5-12 and extended its time outside the playoffs to seven consecutive seasons.
Perhaps most disappointing was the performance of quarterback Russell Wilson who the Broncos traded for four premium drafts from the Seattle Seahawks ahead of this season.
The nine-time Pro Bowler had the worst statistical season of his career, finishing with a career low 16 touchdown passes and leading an offense that ended the season averaging 16.9 points per game.
However, Payton is confident of getting the most out of Wilson.
“Russell is a hard worker and has played at a high level and won a lot of games in this league,” Payton told NOLA.com.
“The pressure is on us to put a good run game together and reduce the degree of difficulty on his position. I’m excited about him.”
Elsewhere, the Houston Texans have hired San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator and former Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans, 38, as their new head coach, the NFL team announced Tuesday.
The former Texans linebacker comes into the job off the back of an excellent period with the 49ers as defensive coordinator.
Under his leadership as coordinator the last two seasons, San Francisco defense ranked first in total defense (300.6 yards/game), total points allowed (277) and points allowed per game (16.3) in the 2022 regular season.
In 2021, the 49ers defense ranked third in the league, allowing 310.0 total yards per game.
Houston fired former head coach Lovie Smith in early January after finishing 3-13-1 in 2022. Smith was the second coach to last just one season with the team. The Texans fired David Culley after a 3-14 season last year and then went on to hire Smith.
The Carolina Panthers also unveiled the team’s new head coach on Tuesday after bringing in former Colts head man Frank Reich.
The 61-year-old Reich was the starting quarterback in the Panthers’ first ever game in 1995 and returns to the franchise as its sixth head coach.