The Denver Broncos and Houston Texans agreed on their new head coaches on Tuesday.
ESPN reports that the Broncos have agreed to compensation with Sean Payton’s former team, the New Orleans Saints, with whom he won the Super Bowl in the 2009 season. The Broncos would receive the third-round draft pick of Payton and Saints in 2024 as part of the deal. New Orleans will receive Denver’s 2023 first-round pick (No. 30) and the Broncos’ 2024 second-round pick.
Meanwhile, the Houston Texans have confirmed they reached an agreement with DeMeco Ryans to be their new head coach. Ryans won plenty of accolades as the defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers.
The 38-year-old played for the Texans for six seasons after being selected in the second round of the 2006 draft. As a linebacker with the team, he won Defensive Rookie of the Year and was selected for two Pro Bowls. season.
San Francisco was especially good against the run with Ryans as defensive coordinator, ranking second in the league in holding teams to 77.7 yards. It’s a stark contrast to Houston’s run defense, which ranked last in the NFL in allowing 170.2 yards this season. The Texans haven’t had a winning season since 2019, but they have the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft and own Cleveland’s 2023 and 2024 first-round picks after trading Deshaun Watson to the Browns l ‘last year.
“For so many reasons, DeMeco is everything we’re looking for in a leader and coach for our organization,” Texans owner Cal McNair said in a statement. “He has a proven track record of developing high-quality players and consistently innovating his defensive scheme over the past six seasons in San Francisco.
“We started this process with the goal of finding someone our fans and the city can be proud of and that’s exactly what we did. Although we received a lot of incredible feedback and support for DeMeco from the from different people, it was our discussions with him and his vision for our football team that made him the right coach to lead us as we continue to evolve as an organization.
The Ryans appointment means the Texans are the first NFL team in history to hire three black head coaches in succession.
Payton will also inherit a struggling team, although the same could be said for the Saints when he became their head coach in 2006. Alongside future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, Payton has led the Saints to the playoffs nine times and the NFC South title on seven occasions.
Payton remained under contract with New Orleans after leaving the Saints last season and working in broadcasting this season.
The Broncos, who went 5-12 this season and extended their playoff drought to seven years, fired rookie coach Nathaniel Hackett in December after he went 4-11. Interim coach Jerry Rosburg went 1-1.
Payton’s main task will be to get quarterback Russell Wilson back on the winning streak after the 11-year-old pro had his worst statistical season following his blockbuster trade from Seattle for four premium draft picks and three players.
The Broncos distributed their first- and second-round picks to the Seahawks for Wilson. They came back in the first round by trading passing thrower Bradley Chubb to the Miami Dolphins, who sent the Broncos a first-rounder originally owned by the San Francisco 49ers. This selection now belongs to the Saints.