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AFC West news: Sean Payton hired as Broncos’ new head coach

The coveted former Saints head coach lands in the Raiders’ division.

NFL: New Orleans Saints-Press Conference
Sean Payton
Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, the AFC West saw high-profile players Davante Adams, Russell Wilson and Khalil Mack join the division. This year, the division is in the middle of a major transaction again, this time on the coaching side.

The Denver Broncos made a huge splash Tuesday afternoon when they hired Super Bowl-winning coach Sean Payton as their head coach. Because Payton, who sat out last year, was still under contract with the New Orleans Saints, the Broncos had to send the Saints trade compensation. As part of the deal, New Orleans gets a first-round pick this year (No. 29) and a 2024 second-round pick while the Broncos receive Payton a third-round pick in 2024 from New Orleans. Payton received interest from multiple teams this coaching cycle.

Payton, 59, is regarded as an elite offensive coach and he left the Saints being considered as one of the best head coaches in the league. Payton is 152-89 in 15 seasons as an NFL head coach.

Payton is now charged with reviving Wilson’s career after a rough first season in Denver where the Broncos went 5-12. Payton replaces Nathaniel Hackett who was fired after just 15 games with the team.

With Payton coming to the division and the Kansas City Chiefs going to their third Super Bowl in the past four seasons, things are getting more challenging for Josh McDaniels as he enters his second season as the Raiders coach after a disappointing 6-11 first season in Las Vegas.