Broncos head coach Sean Payton has lured yet another former Saints player to his new team, this time a speedy pass-catcher.
The New Orleans Saints exodus has begun, and Sean Payton has successfully lured over a few players to the dark side.
A day after running back Tony Jones Jr. signed with Denver, Saints wideout Marquez Callaway is apparently following Payton to the AFC West to play with Russell Wilson.
As first reported by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Callaway is set to join the Denver Broncos this offseason after spending the last three years in NOLA.
Callaway started a career-high 11 games in 2021, the last year of Payton’s tenure as Saints head coach, and he posted nearly 700 yards and six touchdowns and finished the season as the team’s top receiver.
He now enters an elite wideout unit that includes Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and possible trade candidate Jerry Jeudy. Barring a trade or injury to those starters, Callaway will likely serve a depth role at most.
Sean Payton has recruited former Saints WR Marquez Callaway to play for Denver
When it comes to external players’ interest in the Broncos, make no mistake: Sean Payton, not Russell Wilson, is the bait.
Callaway is heading to the toughest division in football not necessarily to catch passes from Russ, but to continue getting coached by one of the greatest minds in NFL history.
Last year, Saints’ youngsters Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed developed nicely in Michael Thomas’ absence; with Thomas hopefully back in the fold as a WR1 in 2023, Callaway would have been playing second-fiddle anyway.
On the Broncos, he would get to work under his former coach and leave his tumultuous New Orleans career behind him. Callaway along with slot receiver Tre’Quan Smith were two underused targets who slowly got phased out in last year’s squad (Callaway started just three games and hauled in 16 catches), and he could be getting a breath of fresh air in the Mile High City.
All in all, it’s a sweet reunion for Payton and Callaway. Celebrate the little victories now — Denver may not get so many of them when the 2023 season begins.