Super Bowl Champion Head Coach Returns to NFL, Joins AFC Team

A former NFL head coach who won a Super Bowl is back in the NFL. According to ESPN, the Denver Broncos agreed to a trade with the New Orleans Saints to make Sean Payton the 19th head coach in franchise history. The Saints will receive a 2023 first-round draft pick (No. 29 overall) and a 2024 second-round pick for Payton and the Saints' 2024 third-round selection. The Broncos are expected to sign Payton to a new contract where he will make between $17 million and $20 million per year, according to Mike Klis of

"This was the opportunity I was looking for," Payton told on Tuesday shortly after the news broke. "It's a great fanbase and great tradition. The ownership group is fantastic, and I love the way they competed in some of their games last year. It's a good football city that we had in New Orleans."

The reason the Broncos traded for Payton instead of signing him is Payton signed a contract extension with the Saints in 2019 that was set to run through the 2024 season. Last year, the Broncos traded their first-round pick to the Seahawks for quarterback Russell Wilson. However, they regained a first-round pick after trading Bradley Chubb to the Miami Dolphins in November. That pick originally belonged to the San Francisco 49ers who sent it to Miami to draft Trey Lance in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

"I've never counted on getting anything for Sean because he might decide to do the media deal for five years, who knows? So, we weren't spending draft capital going forward hoping we might get something if he decides to coach again," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said when the 2022 season came to an end. 

Payton, 59, became the Saints' head coach in 2006 after spending nine seasons as an assistant coach with multiple NFL teams. He was named Coach of the Year in 2006 after leading the Saints to a 10-6 record and an appearance in the NFC Championship. In 2009, Payton led the Saints to the team's first Super Bowl championship after beating Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the big game. In 16 seasons as the Saints' head coach, Peyton posted a 152-89 record with a 9-8 record in the postseason. He resigned from the team after the 2021 season.