What will the new Broncos owners do about the situation in Denver?

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A refund is out of the question. An annulment isn’t on the table. The Walton-Penner group is stuck both with the $4.65 billion asset they purchased earlier this year, and the $245 million contract extension they gave to Russell Wilson when, frankly, they didn’t have to.

So what will they do now?

The new Broncos owners, a collection of Wal-Mart high-level executives and/or heirs, are strategic. They’re tactical. And they hired none of the people responsible for the football operation they oversee.

The three principal owners could be seen briefly on camera last night: former Wal-Mart chairman Rob Walton, his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and her husband, current Wal-Mart chairman Greg Penner. They started clapping once they realized their images were being broadcast by Amazon. The expressions on their faces suggested something far different than applause for the performance of their brand-new toy.

The Broncos stink. The coach is making bad decisions. More importantly, Nathaniel Hackett has failed to coax adequate performance from the most important player on the roster, the man for whom the future was mortgaged before they bought the team and the man to whom they gave way too much money based not on what he’d be doing this year and beyond but what he has done in the past, for a different franchise.

With the next game coming 10 days from now on Monday Night Football, the Walton-Penner group should convene an emergency meeting this morning to make the same kind of plans they’d be making if Wal-Mart were facing a hostile takeover or some other major threat to the short- and long-term operations of the business.

All options should be on the table. No job should be safe. Buyouts will be, given the immense wealth of the owners, an afterthought.

The new owners lack the personal expertise to make good decisions about what to do with the football operation. They need to consult with people they respect and trust. Peyton Manning (pictured). John Elway. Sean Payton. Tony Dungy. Seasoned and experienced football minds who can help diagnose the problems and commence the process of fixing it.

The goal should be to devise a path to success, and to come up with a schedule for implementing it. If they’ve already lost faith in Hackett, should he be relieved of his duties after the season, at the bye week (three games away), or right now? Is George Paton the right G.M.? He traded for Wilson, and he recommended paying him. Through five games, the first decision seems bad and the second decision seems worse.

Meanwhile, the paying customers are a factor. The home crowd booed the team. Nearly 5,000 didn’t bother to show up. If this continues, that number will go up. And, inevitably, the rancor currently directed primarily at Wilson and Hackett will shift to ownership.

I’m not advocating drastic action. I’m advocating a clear and careful and urgent effort to come up with a strategy that includes all possibilities.

Given that they’re stuck with Wilson through 2025, due to the cash and cap realities of his new contract, the plan needs to include coming up with a way to get the most out of the quarterback. Even though Hackett and/or Paton and/or others can be quickly and easily replaced, Wilson’s contract ties player and team together for the foreseeable future. Thus, Job Number One for ownership must be to come up with a way to make horse salad out of what has been, through five games, horse shit.

82 responses to “What will the new Broncos owners do about the situation in Denver?

  1. They’ll just increase the prices of all their goods by a few unnoticeable cents each, and make the money back in no time, if they haven’t done that already.

  2. Hey, no rash decisions.

    Let it play out.

    Good business owners always take the long view.

    (Plus Hawks have their first two picks so their direction right now is excellent.)

  3. Hey if ya thought last night was terrible, just wait until the Bears and WFT stink up the joint next Thursday night.

  4. Consult with Elway? The guy who drafted Drew Lock, Paxton Lynch, Tebow and Brock Osweiler? That’s funny. He’s as likely to lose his job as anyone else and judging from the look on his face last night, he knows it.

  5. Sean Payton as coach is the obvious answer. He coaxed excellent performance out of a fading Drew Brees. They should fire the GM, hire Payton and his favorite GM. Dump Hackett now promote someone as interim coach and start recruiting Sean Payton NOW. Find out from him who is preferred GM is, and start negotiating with him/her NOW (if legal).

    I am not a Bronco’s fan, but good grief that game was painful to watch.

  6. it’s pretty obvious Wilson is no longer a premium nfl starter. he’d playing pretty bad, but I think he’s better than he’s played still.

    i think it’s honestly tome to start looking at if this is a tear down and rebuild, and looking at wikson as a bridge qb for the next few years. yes, he makes alot for a bridge qb, but that money is spent, nothing you can do.

    if a team needs a rebuild, the worst thing you can do is kick it down the road.

  7. The easiest thing to do is to find a new head coach if things don’t improve by the end of the year. With all that money they could lure pretty much any top coach to Denver for next year. Sean Payton? Why not. When you’ve already invest $4.65 billion on the team and $245 million on Wilson paying out Hackett and spending 5 years $100 million for Payton is very doable.

  8. I said it after week one and got voted down. Eat the contract. He’s not an HC. We’ve seen Wilson thrive elsewhere with multiple play callers. This isn’t rocket science. Jag and Bill fans hated Hackett for a reason.

  9. It’s one thing that Wilson looks closer to 40 than he does to 30. It’s damning that it appears his teammates hate him.

  10. The owner should put Russ in Walmart commercials than playing football. He should bring Ciara and kids too show where they buy kids clothes at.

  11. Dom Capers is on the staff… you could have him finish…

    (can’t finish the sentence.. laughing uncontrollably……)

  12. supercharger says:
    October 7, 2022 at 10:02 am
    They’ll just increase the prices of all their goods by a few unnoticeable cents each, and make the money back in no time, if they haven’t done that already.


    I noticed that the cost of plant fertilizer has gone up at Walmart.

    Instead of raising prices, the owners should sell the crap the Broncos have left on the field this season.

  13. I’d watch your first year, but the Broncos are probably in need of a front office cleansing in the offseason. And, Carson wentz is proof you can get rid of a bad QB contract… twice.

  14. It’s clear that Wilson was awful, but how about Matt Ryan? Maybe the new method for stealing a Super Bowl – hiring an aging veteran maybe Hall of Fame quarterback to join your team and get that quick Lombardi is being overused. While it did work for Tampa Bay and the Rams, the last two years, these two teams are discovering the limitations of this strategy for team building. The Colts, in particular are going 0 for 3 (Rivers, Wentz, Ryan)

  15. They have one move, one option..
    Dump Hackett now.
    He is clearly not HC capable at this point, and it’s spiraling out of control on the field.

  16. They should do nothing.
    If the team doesn’t make progress by week 9 then they should get a little involved but keep hands off to see how new coach handles pressure. After the season is when the should take control

  17. After watching a pair of New Jersey slumlords stumble through the last decade with the greatest of mediocrity, I wish Walmart bought my team instead. This is going to calculated and fun to watch in Denver.

  18. They aren’t terrible, just not very good. Defense posted decent numbers against poor offenses but they have been exposed as just OK. Offense is offensive. But they don’t need to have a fire sale and start over.

  19. Hackett needs to go. I thought it was incredible that he was even interviewed, and laughed out loud when he got the job. He’s in a position that is way above his ability, and wouldn’t even be a good coach at a major college program, let alone in the NFL. I’ve never seen a coach with so little talent get so many opportunities as an OC and now a head coach. He’s the Kirk Cousins of NFL coaches.

  20. They didn’t become rich by being idiots, making rushed decisions is never a good idea no matter how much the press wants to create a crisis.

  21. When you pay your qb that much money, the coach shouldn’t be expected to coax anything out of him. For that kind of money you should expect your qb to bring his A game every single week.

  22. Paton is a good GM. Wilson has provednhimself to be a top-tier QB in the past. I think Hackett is the first and obvious choice to go, and give Wilson a chance with a better coach and system for his talents.

  23. Early returns show Denver got absolutely fleeced on the Wilson trade. Peter Carroll is a smart dude and knew to move on.

  24. Broncos GM George Paton was the assistant GM in Minnesota when he and Spielman signed Cousins to an huge contract that destroyed the team’s salary cap and doomed the Vikes to mediocrity. He did the same thing with Wilson. He needs to go.

  25. gor3hound says:
    October 7, 2022 at 10:30 am
    They didn’t become rich by being idiots…

    True. They became rich by being Sam’s descendants.

  26. Fire the coach right away because he’s waaaay in over his head . That’s the shot across the bow that needs to done .

  27. Sorry Bronco country. Sean Payton is probably not available to you. Saints want 1st rounders and you have none. I suggest you do whatever you have to do to get a couple and try again. Sean Payton is the answer, you just don’t have the capital.

  28. Wow, so we’re talking about firing new coaches during the first week of October now? Ridiculous.

  29. calkcfan
    Yes, John Elway. The guy who FINALLY brought in Manning and won another SuperBowl.
    BTW, under Elway, Tebow played them to the playoffs, and a win IN the playoffs.
    So, consider that a LOT of teams haven’t seen that in over 20 years. (See the Lions)

  30. All the people that are saying bring in Sean Payton, he is still under contract with the Saints. The Broncos would have to trade for him and they gave up all of their draft capital to get Wilson.

  31. for one, stop giving qb’s ridiculous long term money when they havent taken a snap for you. thats a solid start

  32. Remember those out there who said Seattle should have kept Wilson and replaced Carroll?

    That was funny.

  33. I’m laughing because of all the Bronco fans who were so sure they were getting Aaron Rodgers. You got your new quarterback but now you have extreme buyer’s remorse. Never in my life have I seen Bronco fans storm the exits before the game was over.

  34. “Hackett needs to go. I thought it was incredible that he was even interviewed, and laughed out loud when he got the job. He’s in a position that is way above his ability”

    Irony is Peyton and the Broncos launched Adam Gase’s disastrous career only to fall victim to the exact same thing themselves by thinking it was Hackett making Green Bay look good and not Aaron Rodgers.

  35. The teams situation will very soon begin having negative impact on the franchises “bottom line” – but as deep as their pockets are, they probably won’t notice.

  36. They should fire this coach today everybody sees that he’s in way over his head. Terrible decision to resign Wilson when they didn’t have to do that.No shame in admitting a mistake with the coach. People get fired all the time in real life.Start with that and make a clean start.

  37. So, i know this is a Broncos article, but where are the same articles about Indy? QB is playing poorly, they squeak out wins and look terrible doing it. Coach and GM should be on the hot seat. Been desperately pulling in QBs from wherever they can find them. A mess as well.

    But they got the win so we give them a pass?

  38. It may be because I’m in the UK and in football here a manager will be sacked (fired) mid season as a matter of course – no waiting to the end of the season as too much damage to the team can be done. It’s pretty clear that Hackett can’t hack it and I’m sure the new owners feel that way too. I don’t think much can be done to save this season for Denver but leaving this guy in post any longer can only damage the team and the fan’s relationship with the team in the long term. I was looking forward to my first live NFL match against the Jags but I may just leave my orange jersey at home when I go down to London out of shame!!

  39. The coach is only part of the problem, Russ is the major issue and it doesn’t matter who they get Russ is used up. So basically suck for 3 or 4 years and battle the Raiders for last place in the AFC west. No draft picks and and no money thanks to Russ so the O-line will only get worse (just like Russ did to Seattle) and Russ is well known and despised by other players for his passive aggressive behavior to throw the team under the bus so free agents will cost a premium for even average players,

    Pull the band-aid, try to trade Russ for whatever and can the coaching staff and GM (seemed to learn from Elway about evaluating QB’s), it was always going to be a problem since walmart Rob wasn’t part of the decisions to hire/trade for any of those aspects.

  40. Hey if ya thought last night was terrible, just wait until the Bears and WFT stink up the joint next Thursday night.

    Are you kidding? That trainwreck also known as Justin fields is must see tv..

  41. gmjoe says:
    October 7, 2022 at 10:10 am
    Reduce operating cost by putting self checkouts at the stadium concessions .

    They already do that with the beer. The Drink MKT in sections 116, 124, 321, 510 and 528 is awesome!

  42. Hackett has proven to be so thoroughly incompetent he has to be fired. For some reason they thought he was good even though he failed everywhere except Green Bay who has Aaron Rodgers. Aaron makes crap coaches look good because he bails them out of bad decisions.

  43. He practices with these guys every day, so why does it always seem that they aren’t ever on the same page in a game? Maybe Wilson’s teammates resent him, his salary and his huge ego. Just a guess…

  44. The Broncos be screwed. Even if they cut Wilson and ate the huge cap hit, the team is out mucho draft capital for that ill conceived amateur hour trade.

  45. dartmouthstevens says:
    October 7, 2022 at 10:11 am
    Sean Payton as coach is the obvious answer. He coaxed excellent performance out of a fading Drew Brees. They should fire the GM, hire Payton and his favorite GM. — Not gonna happen. The Saints are going to demand, expect, and receive AT LEAST a #1 pick for Payton, and the Broncos don’t have one to give for 2023.

  46. If you need to hire extra coaches to tell the HC what to do, how to do it, and what not to do, why are you keeping that HC? His gross incompetence trickles down to the players and shows up on the field as the massive dysfunction we have all seen. Cut your losses and move on with a new HC.

  47. Ummm … John Elway no longer is part of the Broncos organization.

    With that out of the way, the Broncos aren’t terribly bad. They are extremely bad. The problems they identified three seasons ago, mostly on offense, have not been fixed. They have issues on the O-line, in the receiver room, and an unimaginative playbook. The rumor why Vic Fangio was fired was because they couldn’t beat the Raiders. If that was the team goal, they forgot Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs are the team to be beat.

    Right now, the Waltons have a case of buyer’s remorse. A bad buy in which all sales are final.

  48. If they are smart – they will do nothing.

    Wait until they actually have another year or 2 of actual experience before they make another big move.

  49. Not much they can do. Next year they pretty much have no draft. The year after they’ll have a few. Just have to bite the bullet the next 2 years and go 7-10 to 5-12 range. Year 3 start acquiring as much draft capital as possible and hope for relevancy in 5 years when they can get out of the Wilson deal. You can bring Payton in but that’s just a band aid. Wilson is aging and can’t use his legs as well. For all the (probably deserved) belittling of Hackett, Wilson single handedly lost the game last night by throwing the INT at the end of the game and missing the wide open receiver in OT. I don’t see how a new coach can solve that.

  50. Currently they’re sobbing and singing
    “There’s a tear in my beer and I’m crying for you dear, Rusty has destroyed my fragile mind”

  51. To Broncos ownership

    1.Please keep Hackett he can still turn it around.
    2. Don’t make any drastic changes and give this front office a chance to right the ship.
    3. Raise ticket prices as this team has the potential to be must watch tv.

    KC Chiefs fan

  52. “Nathaniel Hackett has failed to coax adequate performance from the most important player on the roster”

    Coax? A veteran franchise QB being paid $250 million should not need “coaxing” by anyone, from coach on up, to perform well.

    Hackett’s had a pretty disastrous start, but he’s brand new in this job. Wilson is an experienced vet who should have this role down cold by now. But the mistakes he’s making look like rookie nonsense. Breaking called plays, making terrible reads, not seeing whole sections of the field, and just plain throwing poorly. That goes well beyond “coaxing”.

  53. Eagles dodged a huge bullet…………..Wilson didn’t want to play in Philly, thank God! Money , draft picks and no Jalen Hurts……

  54. cobrala2 says:
    October 7, 2022 at 10:22 am
    Hackett will be Year One scapegoat
    A scapegoat? Who do you think made the decision to have the kicker attempt a 64 yard field goal the other week? That kicker had never made a FG over 60 yards and had missed a 64 yarder in 2019 against the Raiders. Result: Lost the game Who do you think decided to go for it on 4th and 1 and then not run the ball, or kick the easy FG to at least tie the game? Result: Another lost game. Hackett has everything backwards. The blame is just as much his as anyone as anyone else on the team. He has been a QB coach and a OC, yet Denver’s offense was 30th in the league in scoring. And that was going in to last night’s game. Hackett can’t hack it.

  55. Well,Wal-Mart stores screw their customers over daily,so this is very fitting for their team and their quarterback to stink. You can no longer get a cash refund at Wal-Mart if you are unhappy with your purchase. You get a store credit,so you have to spend it there. Those picks are gone and Wilson is going to get paid no matter what. That’s why they say “let the buyer beware” You’d think that the Uber rich Waltons would know this.

  56. Obviously the answer is to give Russ another 100mil. He’ll throw one less pick a game…maybe…you gotta pay to find out

  57. wow, what a dumpster fire in denver. 1st, the gm should go, he was the reason they got and overpaid for russ so that on him. he also hired the new coach which does not seem to be working out, so that on him as well. 2nd, get rid of the coach now and replace him with the special assistant they hired to help him, that will give all the coaches out there looking for new teams the go ahead that denver is looking for a new coach, if they dont get rid of him now and somehow they put up a good rest of the season it will be harder to get rid of him and better coaching choices may be off the table. 3rd, talk with russ about his legacy, stroke his ego so he doesnt just phone it in and cash checks till 2025, maybe he will find a little fire in his belly and play like a 100 million dollar qb. then, go and find a work horse rb who can take the pressure off russ having to throw the ball as much and beef up the D, this way russ can get back to being the great game manager he has always been.

  58. With no draft capital it may make since to trade one or two of your talented players to get draft capital . They don’t game just but they have Sutton to dangle, the Broncos are going to be bad for many years because of that trade.

  59. Hackett shouldn’t be the first one to go. The guy they just hired to help him manage game time decisions should go. Then Hackett.

  60. So, things are pretty bad in Bronco-land right now. They could be worse. I am not sure how, but they can get worse, can’t they!

    I do not agree that they should fire the HC. At least allow him to finish out the year. The only real terrible issue is being stuck with Russell Wilson – too much money for to little remaining talent, skills and abilities. Take a page from the Niners years back, they kept being out of whack until they finally found the right person in Bill Walsh. Bronco’s – find your Bill Walsh and things WILL get better (of course that’s AFTER Wilson has left the team/franchise/building/state, etc, etc.).

  61. Most smart business owners also don’t make rash, knee jerk decisions. Jumping to conclusions after only 5 games would be doing just that.

  62. In typical Denver fan fashion, the Broncos are bound to win another game and they’ll once again be in love with Wilson.

  63. It looks like Seattle got rid of Wilson and his huge contract just in the nick of time. The only off season move worse than Denver’s was Cleveland trading for Watson. Desperate people do desperate things and it usually doesn’t work out.

  64. Well, just as signing Wilson wasn’t going to fix all the problems, his presence is far from the sole reason for the team’s losses. Pointing the finger at one player is a lazy and pointless process. If it was that simple then the Colts and Broncos would be winning – or at least doing better.

    A QB is rarely the “one missing piece of the puzzle”. It’s foolish to blame the Bronco’s situation on Wilson. Their HC seems unqualified, to say the least.

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