Two AFC teams filled their head coaching vacancies, and one landed a top assistant in the NFC West.
The Houston Texans, who have fired three coaches in as many seasons, may have finally found the long-term answer. Former Texas linebacker DeMeco Ryans left his position as defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers to return to Houston as head coach. Ryans has agreed to a six-year contract, and he will be tasked with reviving a team that has won just eight games over the past two seasons.
From 2006 to 2011, Ryans was a star player on the Houston defense, including two Pro Bowl selections and All-Pro honors in 2007. After finishing his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, Ryans joined the coaching ranks as a 49ers assistant in 2017, becoming an inside linebackers coach in 2018. When Robert Saleh took over for the New York Jets, Ryans took on the role of DC and the 49ers defense finished 7th through DVOA in 2021 and numero uno this year. San Francisco gets a 2025 third-round pick as it was a minority hire for a head coaching job.
Meanwhile, in AFC West, former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is on his way to Colorado to coach Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. Since Payton’s contractual rights belonged to New Orleans even after Payton retired from the team, the Broncos forfeited their 2023 first-round pick (acquired from the Dolphins as part of the Bradley deal Chubb) and next year’s second-round pick and received a 2024 third-round pick in addition to Payton.
I don’t need to tell you Payton’s story because you already know he won a Super Bowl and lost as a double-digit favorite to the Seahawks 7-9. He is the best coach in Saints history and a brilliant attacking mind. Denver was an absolute disaster in 2022, leading the Seahawks to the 5th overall pick, and Sean Payton’s undisputed primary goal is to fix Russell Wilson after having the worst year of his career. Either we get something close to the Russell of yore, or an irretrievably old Russell Wilson.
So for those of you who have long wanted to see a world where Wilson is coached by an established offensive mind and not by Pete Carroll or a legendary incompetent like Nathaniel Hackett, now is your time. The Seahawks can no longer draw picks from the Broncos even if they try, so any attention we give Denver from now on is no longer tied to Seattle’s draft picks. I hope Wilson can turn things around because I don’t want the end of his career to end like this.
The Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts are now the only teams without a new head coach.