Denver Broncos general manager George Paton answers questions from media members during the introductory press conference for newly hired head coach Sean Payton on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, at the UCHealth Training Center in Centennial, Colo.(Timothy Hurst/The Denver Gazette)

PHOENIX — Broncos coach Sean Payton on Sunday shot down trade rumors involving wide receivers Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy.

General manager George Paton followed suit on Monday.

Payton had told NFL Network at the NFL owners meetings that “we’re not trading those two players.” Paton was equally blunt.

“We’re excited to have them on our football team,” Paton said. “Two young players in their prime. I think Sean said it best: We’re not interested in trading them. When you’re in my position, you get a lot of calls. We’ve gotten calls from those players. And so we anticipate them being here.”

Payton on Monday said the Broncos are getting a lot of calls because there is a “new coach” and it’s “not a real deep receiver draft.”


The Broncos lost defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones in free agency to Seattle. But Payton was elated to land Zach Allen as a replacement.

“I’m happy that Dre’Mont found a great spot,’’ Payton said. “We felt like we found, obviously, one of the musts (that needed to be signed). … If you’re looking at it closely, (Allen is) smart, tough, loves football, plays hard. I mean, all the things that we’re looking for.”

Paton also is impressed with Allen.

“Zach, we feel, is really good in the run game,’’ Paton said. “Provides some inside pass rush as well. ... He’s relentless.”

Former Broncos tackle Ryan Harris lauded the move, saying, “I love the signing of Zach Allen. I think that’s the steal of free agency.”


Payton called it important to have lured senior defensive assistant Joe Vitt out of retirement.

Vitt, 68, last coached in the NFL with the New York Jets in 2020. He was hired by Payton as an assistant when he became New Orleans’ head coach in 2006 and spent 10 seasons with him on the Saints.

“He’s a tremendous communicator with players, probably the most important hire I’ve made in New Orleans back in ’06,’’ Payton said. “He’ll be a good asset for our team.”


The Broncos reached back to their past last week by replacing punter Corless Waitman with veteran Riley Dixon. Dixon had previously been Denver’s punter from 2016-17.

“Riley provides a little more experience, I think,’’ Paton said about signing Dixon as a free agent and retracting a tender extended to Waitman as an exclusive rights free agent. “I think Corliss has a really good future in this league. Riley has a big leg. He’s a really good holder. I think he’s in the prime of his career.”

Shortly after becoming an unrestricted free agent, Waitman signed with Bill Belichick and the Patriots.


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The Broncos signed a number of free agents with an eye on bettering their special teams.

“I think it's awfully important,’’ Payton said. “I think it's one way to improve your team pretty quickly. I don't think we were very good last year in the kicking game, quite honestly.”

Among the additions is cornerback Tremon Smith, in line to be the team’s primary kickoff returner.

“I see a player that obviously competes outside of corner,’’ Payton said. “I see an elite special teams player. Corner, special teams, I see 24 snaps (a game).”


Denver doesn’t have a pick in either the first or the second round of the draft and is not slated to select until the No. 67 pick in the third round.

Paton said the Broncos, who currently have five total picks, likely don’t have the draft capital to move up in the April 27-29 event.

“It’s hard to move up when you only five picks,’’ Paton said. “We won’t rule anything out, but it’s hard. I would say we’d be more inclined to move back and get some more picks.”

Due to their lack of picks, Paton said they “really have to make hay” in the draft. Paton said he hasn’t gone to any pro days in order to focus on the draft.


The Broncos recently agreed to terms with veteran free-agent center Kyle Fuller, but for now Payton sees Lloyd Cushenberry remaining the starter.

“We felt like it was an area we need to address,’’ Payton said. “We feel like he's certainly going to benefit from these additions. We haven't met any of these guys yet, but we see him as our starting center.”


The NFL released an offseason workout schedule Friday that said the Broncos would hold a voluntary minicamp from April 26-28.

Not so, Payton said.

“I saw where that was printed,’’ said Payton, whose Broncos begin spring drills April 11. “We’re going right to Phase 1 for a month. We’re just going to lift and run. I don’t know where that came from."


Payton isn’t planning to rest his starters extensively in the preseason.

“We are going to play all of them,’’ he said. “In the preseason? Absolutely we are.”

The Broncos will play three preseason games, two on the road and one at home. The schedule most likely will be announced in May.