HomeSportsNFLReport: Russell Wilson Reaches Out to Sean Payton, States Personal Case for Denver Broncos

Report: Russell Wilson Reaches Out to Sean Payton, States Personal Case for Denver Broncos

by Suzanne Halliburton
russell wilson wants sean payton as broncos head coach
RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Russell Wilson, the embattled Denver Broncos quarterback, reportedly has contacted Sean Payton in case he becomes his new head coach.

Payton is the hottest coaching name in this year’s NFL hiring cycle. The former New Orleans Saints head coach is in the interviewing process. Because he’s still under contract with the Saints, teams must seek permission from New Orleans to talk to the 59-year-old.

And according to radio host Colin Cowherd, Russell Wilson also is chatting with Sean Payton.

Russell Wilson has contacted Sean — legally, by the way, through channels,” Cowherd said on his Thursday show. “He wants Sean Payton. He needs fixing. He knows he needs fixing.”

Yes, Wilson does need fixing. The 34-year-old left Seattle, his old team, for the Denver Broncos this past season. He’d never known anything but the Seahawks. Fans there adored him until word got out that he was forcing a trade. It felt like a divorce when Wilson left and signed a five-year contract worth $242.5 million. It included a $50 million signing bonus. And $161 million of the deal is guaranteed money.

But Wilson didn’t have a nice time in his so-called fresh start. Statistically, this past season was the worst of his career. Opposing defenses sacked him 55 times. That was tops in the league. And he still got to 55 despite missing two games. He threw only 16 touchdown passes. And in the face of an intense rush, he also was picked 11 times.

Maybe Russell Wilson likes Sean Payton because of all the winning he did with Drew Brees. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Russell Wilson Wants Sean Payton, But Broncos Will Need to Pay Big to Saints

The Broncos fired first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett before the season ended. So now, management is looking for another coach. And Payton seems to be the trendy choice, if not an expensive one. The coach still is under contract with the Saints. So the Broncos will need to send some draft picks to the Saints as compensation if they want to hire Payton.

This isn’t an unheard of move. When Tampa wanted to hire Jon Gruden two decades ago, the Raiders received a pair of first-round picks and two selections in the second round. Tampa also needed to write an $8 million check. But the Bucs won a Super Bowl with Gruden as head coach, so the immediate investment seemed worth it.

The last coaching trade happened in 2006. That’s when the Chiefs gave the New York Jets a fourth-round pick so that they could hire Herm Edwards.

Meanwhile, the Broncos have a first-round pick to send the Saints, if needed. They received it in a deal from San Francisco. And they’ll likely need to pay Payton up to $25 million a year in salary.

So maybe Russell Wilson and Sean Payton will be on the same team in 2023. And maybe Wilson gets to revive his sagging reputation with any new head coach. Stay tuned.