Sean Payton's first move as Denver Broncos head coach could be unprecedented.
The Denver Broncos ' blockbuster move to acquire head coach Sean Payton from the New Orleans Saints might not be unprecedented. You'd have to go back about 20 years, but such head coach trades have happened in the past, the most recent of which was Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay in 2002.
What could be unprecedented, however, is Payton's first big move as Broncos head coach being to hire a man who preceded him in Denver's top job only two years prior. After reports last week that the Miami Dolphins were hiring Vic Fangio and making him the NFL's highest-paid coordinator , KOARadio 's Dave Logan reported on Tuesday afternoon that the Broncos are also in the running for the coveted defensive czar.
"To be completely clear about this, the Broncos and the Dolphins continue to negotiate with Vic Fangio," Logan said on the KOA Radio Sports Zoo . "So that is not a done deal, but to me, it appears that that's the direction this thing is going to go. I can't say 100% done, but as of last night about 7 o'clock, that's where this thing was headed."
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Reports surfaced a few weeks back that if Payton returned to the NFL coaching ranks, he planned to assemble a dream team of assistants, with Fangio being among them. If what Logan reports is true, this could be the beginning of Payton realizing that goal but as head coach of the Broncos.
So what would make this so unprecedented? Fangio served as Denver's head coach from 2019-21, and was fired little more than a year ago by GM George Paton, who, ostensibly, would not only be signing off on Payton hiring the veteran defensive coordinator, but likely actively recruiting him.
Fangio's relationship with Paton was reportedly very good. The GM did what had to be done following the 2021 season, so it's possible that Fangio would be open to rekindling his relationship with Paton, if it meant working with Payton (it's gonna get confusing with the way that name rolls off the tongue), and becoming the highest-paid coordinator in the NFL.
The Walton/Penner group certainly has the financial capability to make Fangio such an offer, but in the wake of what is rumored to be a compensation package for Payton somewhere around $18 million/year, perhaps springing for the long-time coordinator might be a bridge too far, especially when Ejiro Evero is still under contract.
Never say never, though. Logan's reports are to be trusted, and it sounds like Fangio returning to Denver on Payton's coattails is very much in the works. The two purportedly almost connected last year in Miami before the Brian Flores lawsuit put the kybosh on the Dolphins executing some less-than-perfectly-above-board maneuvers to not only land Payton and Fangio, but also — reportedly — Tom Brady.
Good things come to those who wait, though, and Payton now has a chance to make good on his plan for Fangio to work alongside him, only now it's in Denver. Stranger things, am I right?
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