Sean Payton’s head coaching contract with the Denver Broncos has not yet been finalized, but reports suggest that the team will pay him $17-20 million per year in a deal spanning at least five years. This could make him the highest-paid coach in the league.

“Great fanbase. Great tradition,” Payton said, according to Nola.com’s Jeff Duncan. “The ownership group is fantastic, and I love the way they competed last year. It’s a great football city like we had in New Orleans.”

The Broncos announced that they had entered negotiations with Payton after reaching a trade agreement with the New Orleans Saints. Denver reportedly gave up a 2023 first-round and 2024 third-round pick for Payton and a future third-round pick from New Orleans.

The ultimate value of Payton’s contracts will reportedly come down to the finalized negotiation, which will determine annual value, incentives and other bonuses in the deal. Contracts for coaches are not generally as widely publicized as those for players, but the deal will certainly make Payton one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL, regardless of the final arrangement.

Denver parted with head coach Nathaniel Hackett at the end of the 2022 season, one in which new quarterback Russell Wilson struggled mightily in an anemic offensive scheme. The team’s decision to acquire Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks last offseason has not yet paid off but acquiring Payton, a former Super Bowl winner and longtime collaborator with Drew Brees should have a positive impact.

In 2021, Payton stepped down from his position as Saints head coach after 15 seasons. In addition to a Super Bowl victory in 2010, he also earned a 152-89 career record.

Denver was not the only team in need of a head coach, and a number of organizations reportedly reached out to New Orleans for Payton’s services. After Kliff Kingsbury’s dismissal, the Arizona Cardinals were heavily rumored to be in negotiations with New Orleans. The Panthers also reached out to Payton for an interview before hiring Frank Reich.

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