Skip to main content

Report: Broncos 'Early Front-Runner' in Sean Payton Sweepstakes

Payton will interview Tuesday for Denver's HC gig.

The interest reportedly is mutual between the Denver Broncos and top head-coaching candidate Sean Payton.

Per Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the Broncos "appear to be the front-runner" for Payton's services "in the early stages of the process" — as of Thursday evening.

The former Saints' Super Bowl-winning coach is said to prefer Denver's "stable" ownership, led by point-man CEO Greg Penner, and "would be happy to work with" quarterback Russell Wilson, despite recent speculation indicating the contrary.

What happens next for the Broncos? Don't miss out on any news and analysis! Take a second and sign up for our free newsletter and get breaking Broncos news delivered to your inbox daily!

Coincidentally (or not), this news leaked shortly after University of Michigan president Santa Ono publicized his intent to retain HC Jim Harbaugh, the betting favorite for the Broncos' vacancy. Harbaugh, who on Monday conducted a two-hour virtual interview with Penner and Co., is now "increasingly" likely to stay in Ann Arbor, according to the New York Times' John U. Bacon.

Payton, 59, is scheduled to meet Broncos brass in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning. Because New Orleans still owns his rights, a hiring would be finalized via trade, the terms of which have been loosely discussed between the sides.

Denver — having already interviewed in-house defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, former Lions HC Jim Caldwell, and ex-Stanford HC David Shaw — is planning to speak with Rams DC Raheem Morris following its Payton sitdown.

The club also requested interviews with 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans and Cowboys DC Dan Quinn, though it's unclear when (or if) they will take place next week.

In addition to the Broncos, Payton's courtship extends to the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals, a "pretty legit" competitor in the ever-growing sweepstakes.

Follow Zack on Twitter @KelbermanNFL

Follow Mile High Huddle on Twitter and Facebook.

Subscribe to Mile High Huddle on YouTube for daily Broncos live-stream podcasts!