The Denver Broncos are the talk of the NFL world right now, not because they hired Sean Payton to be their next head coach but instead due to how they conducted their search for Nathaniel Hackett’s replacement.

Apparently, Payton is their third option to hire as head coach, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. They reportedly tried to hire DeMeco Ryans first, but the former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator decided to get the head coaching job on the Houston Texans.

After Ryan, the Broncos eyed Jim Harbaugh from the Michigan Wolverines, but to no avail. It is only then that the team negotiated a deal with Payton. However, before they finalized anything, they tried to make another run at Ryan, only to fail once again. After that chaotic sequence that the team only decided to push through with Payton.

A lot of fans raised concerns about the Broncos’ search process and mocked them for how they seemingly panicked that they missed out on all of their initial targets.

“This would concern me more than the picks given up lol,” one fan said.

Another commenter added, “Again, I really like the Payton hire for Denver … but paying the price they did (both in picks AND money) for a guy that was by all accounts their 3rd choice is… An interesting process.”

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The Broncos are sending a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 second-rounder to the New Orleans Saints to be able to hire Payton, and many see it as an act of desperation.

“The Broncos tried to trade for Aaron Rodgers, couldn’t, and instead gave up a king’s ransom for Russell Wilson. Then they tried to hire DeMeco Ryans, failed, and instead give up a king’s ransom for Sean Payton. Desperate. So, so desperate,” a third Twitter user said.

“So they settled for Sean Payton and panicked,” another critic noted.

Only time will tell if the Broncos made the right choice of paying the price to hire Payton. Nonetheless, they are definitely off to a bad start considering their process alone.

For what it’s worth, the Broncos denied having contact with Ryans and emphasized that they have always focused on hiring Payton, according to team insider Troy Renck. Whatever the case may be, though, Denver will have to simply prove that they hired the right person to lead their turnaround after an ugly 2022 season.