The Denver Broncos officially have their new head coach.
Former New Orleans head coach Sean Payton signed his contract with the franchise on Friday, three days after finalizing a trade with the Saints for the rights to his services, a source told The Post. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed, but the source said the contract is for five years, meaning Payton is under contract through the 2027 season.
Payton was under contract with New Orleans into 2024, so the Broncos on Tuesday agreed to trade the Saints the No. 29 overall selection in April’s NFL draft plus a 2024 second-round draft pick for the rights to Payton and a 2024 third-round pick.
There is much to do for Payton, including putting together his first Broncos staff and deciding who, if anybody, to keep from Nathaniel Hackett’s staff last year.
On Dec. 27, one day after Hackett was fired, Broncos CEO Greg Penner promised a top-to-bottom evaluation of Denver’s football operation and said whoever he hired as the next head coach would play a part in that process.
“The new head coach will definitely be involved in that, but I tend to be impatient and so that’s (already) happening now,” he said then. “We will evaluate everything. (Paton) mentioned the injuries, and that’s been a real challenge. Carrie (Walton-Penner) and I started conversations with folks in the NFL office. A month ago, we visited with (NFL Chief Medical Officer Allan Sills) and others to just look at our program. We are not waiting for a head coach to start looking at what the changes that are needed here.
“The head coach, when we find that person, will be deeply involved in how we move forward from that point.”
Now Payton, armed with 15 years of head coaching experience and 24 years total coaching in the NFL, joins that process, too.
Payton, 59, did not coach in 2022. He was the head man in New Orleans from 2006-21 — with a break for the 2012 season when he was suspended for his role in the “Bounty Gate” scandal — before deciding he needed time away from coaching. A year later, he’s back in charge of a franchise and will make his return to the sideline in the fall.
“It’s a little bit bittersweet seeing him get back into the game,” said former Saints and Dallas linebacker Scott Shanle, who started 94 games for Payton in New Orleans and played in 128 overall with him. “I’m a little bit jealous of Denver Broncos fans because of everything that he brought to New Orleans. Sitting in that room for seven years, I know what he brings to the table.
“I think what Denver gave up for him, it will definitely be worth it.”
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