Breaking News: Denver Broncos Trade for Sean Payton

On January 31st, the Denver Broncos traded for Sean Payton to fill their head coaching vacancy. Denver is sending a first-round pick in 2023 and an early pick in 2024, as was reported first by Ian Rapoport with NFL Network.

Payton is now coming out of a short retirement and will try and resurrect a Broncos franchise that has sputtered in recent years. The deal has been agreed to by both parties, per Rapoport.

Broncos’ 2022 Season

Denver had a disappointing season in 2022. Expectations were high after making a massive trade for Russell Wilson. The Broncos, who seemed to be just a quarterback away from contention, appeared to be on the cusp of doing just that.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan. The Broncos started off strong at 2-1, then sputtered into a downward spiral shortly after. Disappointing performances from Wilson and new head coach Nathaniel Hackett would lead the Broncos to a 5-12 record.

The Short-Lived Nathaniel Hackett Era

The hire of Nathaniel Hackett brought excitement to Colorado’s capital, but it turned out to be short-lived. Hackett was a hot commodity last off-season after leading a successful offense in Green Bay and helping Aaron Rodgers earn back-to-back MVP awards.

Hackett had a rough performance in Week One, as poor clock management led to a loss to start the season. Nathaniel and his team weren’t able to shake those struggles as the season progressed. Hackett’s demise came the day after Christmas, after a brutal loss to the Rams left Denver at 4-11.

Then, Jerry Rosburg took over as interim head coach and was able to win one of Denver’s last two games. Unfortunately, his coaching tenure seemed to be more of a formality. On January 25th, as the search for a new head coach intensified, Rosburg was notified he won’t be a member of the staff moving forward.

Other Candidates

With that coaching search gaining steam, a few candidates had their names thrown into the ring. Sean Payton seemed an obvious candidate early. Payton has had his name float around ever since his retirement and would have made sense with the Broncos’ timeline.

There were many other candidates as well. Dan Quinn and Jim Harbaugh both have résumés that overflow with experience, and both would have made sense for the team as well.

DeMeco Ryans, the 49ers’ defensive coordinator, was a strong candidate as well but has recently agreed to terms with the Houston Texans per Ian Rapoport. It did not come without a fight however, as the Broncos reportedly spent this morning trying to hire Ryans, once again.

In the end, the Broncos chose Sean Payton. With a very talented roster, the right coach just might be all they need to contend. For now, that opportunity belongs to Payton.

Josh McDaniels: Does History Repeat Itself?

Josh McDaniels has become one of the most successful coordinators in all of football during his time in the league. McDaniels has overseen a boatload of success alongside Bill Belichick in New England. That success eventually led him to his first head coaching gig in Denver. Josh won the Broncos’ job in 2009, and things looked very promising. However, in this case, the good things didn’t last long.

Now, with McDaniels’ tenure in Sin City off to a rocky start, some are questioning if McDaniels is cut out to be a head coach. Some may wonder, is history repeating?

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels
Photo Credit: Chris Unger/Getty Images

Josh McDaniels’ Broncos Tenure

The hope that followed Josh McDaniels to Denver led to questions after some interesting moves early on in his reign. First, McDaniels decided to move on from Jay Cutler, sending him to the Chicago Bears. This led to a saga as the search for a quarterback began. McDaniels ended up bringing in Kyle Orton to replace Cutler.

Yet, there seemed to be a method to Josh’s madness at first. The Broncos would find themselves with a 6-0 record — a very impressive start for the rookie head coach.

Unfortunately, shortly after that things began to unravel. Denver lost eight of their last 10 games, and would finish the season with a 8-8 record. After the season ended, McDaniels traded star receiver Brandon Marshall to Miami.

More questionable moves and poor performances would eventually lead to McDaniels’ downfall. Drafting Tim Tebow and trading Peyton Hillis proved to be awful decisions. His 3-9 record during his second season didn’t help much, either. McDaniels was eventually fired before his second season concluded.

Josh McDaniels’ Raiders Tenure

Josh McDaniel’s second job as a head coach would have to wait a while. He ran himself into a fiasco in Indianapolis, but that fizzled out and he returned to New England. After more success with Belichick and the Patriots, McDaniels was eventually hired by the Las Vegas Raiders before the 2022 season.

His first offseason cycle in Sin City was promising. Unlike his first job, McDaniels would inherit a talented, playoff-caliber team in Las Vegas. The Raiders owned the fifth seed in 2021, and nearly knocked off the eventual AFC Champions in the first round.

Things got a lot more exciting when the Raiders signed Chandler Jones shortly before trading for Davante Adams. Adding these two to a playoff roster seemed to be a recipe for success. Unfortunately, things once again didn’t go according to plan for McDaniels.

The first season under McDaniels would turn out to be a disaster. Las Vegas won just six games, and lost four games in which they had a 17-point lead.

As the season wound to a close, McDaniels would make the decision to bench Derek Carr and attempt to trade him after the season. While this decision may help the franchise in the long run, it further ruffled feathers between McDaniels and the fan base.

Another Disaster? Or is it Too Early to Tell?

Indeed, there are some similarities between both of Josh Mcdaniels’ head coaching tenures up to this point. The main reason for that has been the commonality of losing, with rare wins sprinkled in between. At this point, both franchises have soured on McDaniels for various reasons.

One potentially troubling similarity is Josh’s removal of a starting quarterback. He was quick to discard Cutler, but gave Carr 15 games before making the decision to move on from him.

In Denver, McDaniels got rid of several skill players in hopes of bringing in his own. Cutler, Hillis, and Marshall were all shown the door before McDaniels’ second season in charge. In Las Vegas, it hasn’t been quite the same. Carr will be gone, but he’s been involved in trade rumors for quite some time now. McDaniels’ moves in Denver were much more abrupt.

Ultimately, it seems too early to tell if history will repeat itself in Las Vegas. McDaniels currently owns a 17-28 record as a head coach, so he hasn’t been impressive in either city. Raiders fans will hope 2023 brings change, but up until now, McDaniels hasn’t done anything to prove himself or instill confidence to the fan base.

Three Underrated NFL Players From 2022-23 Season

Another NFL season has come and gone. With that, each player has another year under their belts, and each player has another year notched off their career. Now, the endless cycle of fan opinions regarding these players circulates, and now new players have earned “underrated” and “overrated” titles. With that in mind, here are three of the most underrated NFL players from this past season.

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Cox/Getty Images

Tyler Allgeier

Tyler Allgeier was selected in the fifth round of the NFL draft last year by the Falcons. With a draft selection that late, and Cordaralle Patterson already on the roster, his expectations were understandably small. However, Patterson suffered some injuries this season, which gave a ton of playing time to Allgeier. He did not waste a second.

Allgeier never really got the credit he deserved for what was a fantastic rookie season. He finished his rookie season with 210 attempts, which came out to an astounding 1,035 yards, good enough for nearly five yards per carry. Allgeier put together an impressive rookie season, and has a bright future ahead of him.

Tyson Campbell

Tyson Cambell had an up-and-down rookie season. He was impressive at times, but was rocky at others. Campbell used his first off-season to work on his game. That paid off in major ways in 2022.

Campbell finished the season as the sixth-best overall cornerback, and the sixth-best coverage grade by Pro Football Focus. He earned an 81.9 overall grade, and an 81.5 coverage grade. Campbell really came on as the season has came to an end, and was been a large part of the reason the Jaguars got so far this season.

Jaelan Phillips

Jaelen Phillips is the third, and final, young guy on this list. Phillips didn’t do much of anything in his rookie season, bringing low expectations into his sophomore campaign.

Phillips would go on to have an excellent second season, as he finished the season graded as the sixth best edge defender by Pro Football Focus. In his second season, Phillips lodged nine sacks, and a very impressive 44 hurries. Phillips made some stark improvement and finished the season as one of the most underrated NFL players.

The Sacramento Kings are Back, Baby

Sacramento Kings stars De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis
Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The last time the Sacramento Kings made the playoffs was the 2005-06 season. That was 16 years ago. The Kings haven’t finished a season remotely close to .500 in that same timespan. Sacramento has had Demarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Isaiah Thomas, De’Aaron Fox as key players during that time frame, and yet has failed to make a significant impact on the NBA landscape. Don’t even get yourself started on their missed draft picks. You’ll drive yourself mad.

The Haliburton/Sabonis Trade: Another Sacramento Kings failure?

One draft pick that didn’t flop was Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton is one of the most exciting young players across the league. With Haliburton and Fox, and a solid group of role players around them, for the first time in a very, very long time, the future looked bright in California’s capital.

Then, in a trade that rocked the NBA landscape, the Kings shipped him off to Indiana at last year’s trade deadline. The Kings sent Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson to the Pacers in exchange for Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday and a 2027 second round pick.

The trade at the time was seen as horrid for the Kings, which is in part justified. Sacramento was 20-35 at the time of the trade. Trading a young star for a proven veteran isn’t necesarily the type of a trade a team of that caliber should make. Fortunately, it’s been a bit better than that.

Off-season Upgrades

Sacramento didn’t make any major moves this offseason, but the ones they did make were very important. The Kings lost Donte DiVincenzo, but that was the only real loss they had.

The Kings were fortunate enough to land the fourth overall pick, and they used that to select Keegan Murray, a small forward out of Iowa. Murray didn’t have as much potential, but he was undoubtedly the most NBA-ready pick in the draft, with a very well-rounded skillset. Since the trade sent Sacramento into win-now territory, this trade makes sense.

Sac also swung a trade for Kevin Huerter. Huerter was acquired for Maurice Harkless, Justin Holiday, and a second round pick. That trade turned out to be a steal, with Huerter being a crucial cog in the Kings’ offense. Finally, the Kings signed Malik Monk, reuniting him with his college teammate De’Aaron Fox.

The Evolution of a Playoff Team

At the time of the Sabonis trade, the Sacramento Kings seemed to be a bad team with no direction. Kind of sounds like the Kings for the past 16 years, huh?

Well, Monte McNair and Mike Brown have completely turned things around. The Kings are six games above .500 for the first time since… who knows when? They have two All-Star caliber players in Sabonis and Fox. Sacramento is one game out of the third seed, and looks like a true playoff contender. The Kings are one of the most entertaining stories in the league, and have built themselves a very bright future.

Light the beam!

Damar Hamlin: The Sports World Comes Together

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin
Photo Credit: Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

During the Monday night affair between the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills, the NFL was struck with one of its greatest tragedies in recent memory. Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac event while making a seemingly routine tackle, and after getting up, immediately collapsed onto the field.

What ensued was a moment of absolute and utter chaos. CPR and defibrillators were both used on the field, in the eye of everyone in the stadium. An emergency unit filled with strong individuals carried out their duties well, and Hamlin was able to reach the hospital quickly enough to keep him alive.

Often times the labels humans assign to their counterparts are covered in negative connotations. Most humans don’t have faith in others, and would be quick to expect others to disappoint them. While Hamlin’s incident is surely tragic, it’s also served as a great reminder that humans can, indeed, be good sometimes.

Fan and League-Wide Support for Damar Hamlin

Tuesday and Wednesday night, a combination of fans has gotten together at the Bengals’ stadium to hold a candlelight vigil, in honor of Hamlin.

This is just one small example of the outcry of support from across the league. For example, all 32 NFL teams have changed their logos on Twitter to a “Pray for Damar” message. In similar news, at many stadiums around the league, messages of support for Hamlin can be seen.

The following cities and teams made an effort to show support for Hamlin: 49ers, Dolphins, Broncos, Ravens, Patriots, Jaguars, Saints, and the Raiders. Here’s an example, from U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota:

Even a local natural wonder like Niagara Falls lit up blue on Tuesday night in support of Hamlin. Even outside of the football world, teams have been paying their respects.

Outside of Football

Donovan Mitchell scored 71 points on Monday. The most points scored by a player in a single NBA game, since Kobe scored 82. Mitchell didn’t get much recognition for that — which is unfortunate yet understandable. When he did talk to the media; however, the first thing he shared was his support for Hamlin.

The Buffalo Sabres came into their game on Tuesday wearing shirts that read; “Love for 3”. Rookie sensation Tage Thompson would then score three goals, with his third coming in the third minute of overtime. A moral and symbolic victory for the city.

Damar Hamlin’s Charity

In 2020, Hamlin started a charity, the Chasing M’s Foundation, aimed at purchasing toys for children in his hometown in Pennsylvania. This charity wasn’t too well-known, but it had raised a bit of money.

In the first few hours immediately after Hamlin’s injury, as the public learned about his charity, donations came pouring in. After those first several hours, over $4 million was raised.

Editors Note: As of editing this article, Hamlin’s charity has exceeded $7 million, including a donation of over $25k from the Indianapolis Colts and owner Jim Irsay.

Ultimately, many do carry the view that the world is an evil place, and that humans will do evil things to each other. Given the course of human history, you’d be hard-pressed to claim that argument as incorrect. In the wake of this tragedy, we were reminded that humans can be great, too.

People want their flowers when they’re here. One of the greatest achievements one can have is to see how valued, loved, and respected they are by other people. Damar Hamlin is the example of a great man. We can only hope that he pulls through this and gets to see his flowers.