As the Denver Broncos attempt to finally correct the course of their franchise under new head coach Sean Payton, much of their success will be determined by their ability to attract championship-caliber players in free agency. For what it's worth, Payton is already trying to start such efforts by tapping into his colleagues from a season in television with the NFL on Fox.
In a Twitter post on Saturday, Payton posted a picture of a long-sleeve Broncos T-shirt with the "B" crossed out and replaced with a "G," forming the word "Groncos" in a tongue-in-cheek recruitment pitch to former All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. Payton and Gronkowski both worked together at Fox Sports in 2022.
@Broncos @RobGronkowski @TomBrady @NFLonFOX— Sean Payton (@SeanPayton) February 11, 2023
Let the recruitment begin! pic.twitter.com/2upP9h8qsx
In addition to Gronkowski, Payton also tagged former NFL quarterback Tom Brady, who is set to join Fox Sports after retiring from football at the end of the 2022 season. Neither is likely to actually seriously entertain playing for the Broncos, as Brady has formally filed his retirement letter to the NFL while Gronkowski retired for good after the 2021 season.
Rather than look to make other splash moves in 2023, Payton's top priority is to make sure that the Broncos get something out of their major splash move of the 2022 offseason: Russell Wilson. Denver attempted to address their long-standing quarterback issues last offseason by pulling off a blockbuster trade for Wilson, only for the former Seahawks star to regress to shockingly poor levels of play in a Denver offense that was completely dysfunctional to the point that first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett did not last the season.
Salvaging Wilson after the single worst year of his career will go a long way toward determining Payton's success with the Broncos, a franchise that has not had a winning season since 2016.