The Mile High City is Payton’s place.
On Jan. 31, the Denver Broncos pulled off the blockbuster trade with the New Orleans Saints, sending a first-round pick and a second-round pick to acquire Sean Payton, along with a third-round pick, to be the team’s next coach.
After an exhausting search that had more twists and turns than Elitch Gardens’ Mind Eraser rollercoaster, the Broncos narrowed down their list of eight candidates to the Super Bowl-winning head coach.
How did Greg Penner, George Paton and the Broncos’ ownership do in the end?
The DNVR Broncos Crew hands out their report card and dishes out Super Bowl bets.
All odds below are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
What grade would you give the Broncos for hiring and acquiring Sean Payton?
Zac: A- — Helluva job, Greg Penner.
Before the search officially began, reports surfaced that Denver was going to swing big and be “ultra aggressive” to do whatever they had to do to land their candidate. In the end, that’s precisely what they ended up doing.
The Broncos couldn’t have gone wrong with Payton or Jim Harbaugh and by landing one of their top two, they hit a home run. Payton will instantly jumpstart Denver’s dying offense and instantly have them flirting as a top-10 offense at worst. That’s what it takes to win in the modern NFL.
There’s also no coach better to help turn Russell Wilson around than Payton. That’s exactly what the Broncos need after making a massive investment in No. 3 last year.
The only reason why this isn’t an A or A+ grade is because of what Denver had to give up to get Payton. I have no issue with giving up two premium draft picks, but that does factor into the move. Still, it’s a home run.
RK: A- — The only thing stopping this from being an A+ is the fact that 1) The Broncos had to give away draft picks to acquire him and 2) The fact that they had to give more than just a first-round pick.
Denver had the option to either attempt to fix Russell Wilson this offseason or move on entirely and start a full rebuild. If they were going to go with option one, this was the absolute best person available to help get Russell Wilson back on the Hall of Fame track the first 10 years of his career were on. In fact, Payton may just be a top three option alive to help Russ.
Even if it doesn’t end up working out with Wilson, the Broncos have finally entered the golden era of offensive football. By bringing in one of the best offensive minds in NFL history, you can almost guarantee that the Broncos will be out of the stone ages on the offensive side of the ball.
For my money, the Broncos got the best possible coach they could have this cycle. Home run.
Hank: A+ — The Broncos added a Hall of Fame coach. That’s a grand slam in my book.
Only 18 retired coaches have as many postseason wins as Payton, and 14 of them are Hall of Famers.
Only 17 retired coaches have more regular-season wins than Payton and 10 of them are Hall of Famers.
Hiring Sean Payton is a once-a-decade opportunity and giving up a first-round pick and a pick-swap is a steal. The price should have been two firsts and the Broncos should have taken that deal and run with it.
Super Bowl Picks Picks Picks
Jersey number of first touchdown scorer over/under 11.5
Hank: Over. (It’s Travis Kelce.)
Will any player have a catch of at least 55 yards in the game? (+250)
Will Jalen Hurts have a rushing touchdown?
Will Travis Kelce score a touchdown?
If not a quarterback, which position will be the Super Bowl MVP?
Receiver +600, tight end +900, running back/fullback +1200, defensive lineman +2500, linebacker +2800, cornerback +6000, safety +7500, offensive lineman +10000, kicker/punter/long snapper +15000
Zac: Tight end.
Hank: Defensive lineman. (Chris Jones.)
Chiefs-Eagles total points over/under 51
Chiefs vs Eagles (-1.5)