On Monday, the Denver Broncos introduced Sean Payton as their new head coach, as he tries to resurrect the career of quarterback Russell Wilson.
Last season, under rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett, Wilson posted career lows in completion percentage (60.5%), passing touchdowns (16) and quarterback rating (84.4). Payton, meanwhile, oversaw one of the most prolific stretches of any passing offense when he and Drew Brees teamed up with the New Orleans Saints to rewrite the NFL record book.
Still, in order to justify his salary, Payton will need to build a competitive offense around Wilson’s skill set.
Here’s everything you need to know about Sean Payton’s hiring in Denver.
How much will Sean Payton make as coach of the Broncos?
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According to NBC Sports, Payton’s contract will be five years, ‘in the neighborhood of’ $18 million per season. That instantly gives him one of the richest coaching contracts in NFL history.
What has Russell Wilson said about Sean Payton’s hiring?
Wilson has shied away from making public comments about Payton’s hiring, but NBC Sports reported that Wilson has reached out to Drew Brees, the retired former Saints quarterback who excelled under Payton, in order to prepare for his time with Payton. NBC Sports also reported that Wilson is ‘willing to be coached hard’ by Payton.
In September 2022, Wilson signed a massive contract extension that could be worth up to $245 million.
What has Sean Payton said about Russell Wilson?
During his introductory news conference Monday, Payton was asked several times about Wilson.
‘Here’s what I know: I know he’s an extremely hard worker,’ Payton said Monday. ‘That’s important. I think you take that and you understand the skill set. He’s won a lot of games in Seattle; we played them quite a bit just because we were both playoff teams in the NFC at the time. …
‘The No. 1 job for us as coaches in evaluating our players is what do they do really well and try to put them in those positions. That’s the starting point.’
Who might Sean Payton look to hire as Broncos offensive coordinator?
Though it is very much Payton’s offense, his choice for offensive coordinator will have a massive impact on the direction the Broncos take offensively and Wilson’s continued development. One obvious choice could be Joe Lombardi, the former Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator who was recently fired. Lombardi spent two stints with the Saints, from 2007-13 (as an offensive assistant and then quarterbacks coach) and then from 2016-20 (as quarterbacks coach).
Another name to watch is current Buffalo Bills quarterbacks coach Joe Brady. Back in 2017-18, Brady served as an offensive assistant for the Saints before he went on to LSU and then the Carolina Panthers (as offensive coordinator from 2020-21). In fact, Buffalo’s staff has another Payton connection, as current Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer spent five seasons in New Orleans (from 2008-12), including serving as the interim coach while Payton was suspended for his role in the Bountygate scandal.