AFC Notes: Broncos, Colts, Raiders, Derek Carr


  • Mark Maske reports that the Broncos appear to be the front-runner to land Sean Payton as their next head coach.
  • According to Maske, Payton likes that Denver has “stable ownership” and would be happy to have Russell Wilson as their starting quarterback. 
  • Payton will interview with the Broncos on Tuesday in Los Angeles, California. (Rapoport & Pelissero)
  • Michigan HC Jim Harbaugh interviewed virtually for more than two hours with Denver and may meet with them in person unless he is locked up by Michigan with an extension before he has the chance.
  • The Broncos are also looking to interview Cowboys DC Dan Quinn, who interviewed for the job last year and has a close relationship with GM George Paton.
  • As for 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans, the Broncos will also likely interview him next week and have already interviewed current DC Ejiro Evero, former Stanford HC David Shaw, and former NFL coach Jim Caldwell.
  • The Broncos also have plans to interview Rams DC Raheem Morris after they interview Payton on Tuesday.


Colts GM Chris Ballard doesn’t believe that he has less of a voice within the organization after the prominent decisions spearheaded by owner Jim Irsay this season, like benching QB Matt Ryan, firing HC Frank Reich, and hiring interim HC Jeff Saturday.

Let me say this about Mr. Irsay. I love working for him. He’s a good man, and a good owner, and he has a lot of experience in this league, and we talk about everything,” Ballard said via 107.5 The Fan. “We don’t always agree. If we’re agreeing all the time, I’m not doing my job. I think you all have been around me long enough to know it just comes out. Sometimes, even when I don’t want it to, it just comes out. I’m going to be honest and tell you what I think, and I’m very honest with him about what I think, and he’s very honest and direct with me, and at the end of the day, there’s some decisions that I’ll make, and he’ll say ‘Good, Chris, I don’t completely agree with that, but let’s move forward,’ and there’s some decisions he’ll make that I’ll say ‘Look, I don’t completely agree with that, but I’ll move forward.’ When we make one, we make it together and we move forward. Mr. Irsay lets me do my job.

Ballard was then asked if he wanted to be in Indianapolis long-term. He had to pause a while before answering. 

No. We don’t have a transfer portal. And I don’t want it. I’ve never backed out of anything in my life. I won’t back out of this. We will get it right. People are scared to struggle. I’m not going to sit here and say I like it, but I’m not afraid of it. I’m not afraid of the struggle. I’m not afraid of the hardness of what we do. In fact, I kind of get off to it. To answer your question, no. No other place I want to be. 

Ballard was asked if Irsay’s decisions hurt the team. After another long pause, he responded.

No. We’ve had some long talks, had a long talk Sunday. I don’t. He’s been doing this a long time, and he’s got a good feel for this, and every decision that has been made, we’ve talked through. I don’t think it hurt us. No. Ultimately, it falls on my shoulders.


  • Ian Rapoport reports that the Raiders are actively shopping QB Derek Carr, with a deadline of February 15th when more than $40 million of his deal will become fully guaranteed.
  • Carr has a no-trade clause but several quarterback-needy teams including the Commanders, Jets, and Panthers are expected to be interested in his services.

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