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Sean Payton leaving the NFC: Saints trade head coach to Broncos for a 1st round pick

The 49ers are also losing their defensive coordinator to a job in the AFC as head coach

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Sean Payton situation on the New Orleans Saints is settled and he will be leaving the NFC for good. After there was some speculation that Payton could wind up with the Los Angeles Rams during the time when Sean McVay was mulling his own foray into TV — where Payton spent the last year while on hiatus from the Saints — he is instead going to the AFC.

The Saints traded Payton to the Denver Broncos on Tuesday for a 2023 first round pick (30th overall, the 49ers original pick, which was traded to the Dolphins, then traded to Denver for Bradley Chubb) and a 2024 third round pick.

Payton spent 15 years as head coach of the Saints, going 152-89, and being suspended for all of the 2012 season. He had a 9-8 record in the playoffs, winning the Super Bowl in 2009 with Drew Brees at quarterback. Payton is now paired with a Drew Brees comp in Russell Wilson, in the Broncos effort to fix their $230 million investment who fell apart last season after being traded from the Seahawks to Denver.

The Rams will host the Saints in 2023. They just played the Broncos on Christmas, blowing them out and helping push Nathaniel Hackett out the door.

In other head coaching news, the NFC West is losing a key coach as well: 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is signing a six-year deal to be the head coach of the Houston Texans.

This leaves the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts with head coach openings.