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Arizona Cardinals receive permission to speak with Sean Payton: What it means

Arizona Cardinals' Sean Payton

The Arizona Cardinals are coming off an absolutely dreadful 4-13 season. It led to owner Michael Bidwell making the decision to fire head coach Kliff Kingsbury less than a calendar year after signing him to an extension.

Arizona will now be seeking an entirely new power structure with general manager Steve Keim also removed from the organization. All of this comes with Kyler Murray recovering from a torn ACL the quarterback suffered mere months after he also inked an extension with the Cardinals.

Enter into the equation former New Orleans Saints Super Bowl-winning head coach Sean Payton. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports that Arizona has received permission from New Orleans to speak with Payton.

Payton, 59, resigned from his role as the Saints’ head coach ahead of the 2022 season after a tremendous 15-year run in the Bayou. He immediately turned in his head set for the broadcast booth, working as part of the Fox NFL Sunday coverage.

However, it’s long been believed that Payton would return to coaching in short order. This is now about to come to fruition with the highly-respected offensive mind already talking to the Denver Broncos. As for Arizona’s interest, there’s a lot of moving parts here.

Related: Sean Payton and the top NFL head coach candidates

Arizona Cardinals would have to give up draft compensation to hire Sean Payton

sean payton, arizona cardinals
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Payton remains under contract with the Saints. Any team looking to hire him would have to give up draft pick compensation to New Orleans. Reports indicate that said compensation would start with a first-round pick.

This is problematic for the Cardinals in that they currently boast the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. That would be a mighty high price for Arizona to pay, especially given the lack of talent on the team’s roster following a last-place finish in the NFC West. We’re also not sure if the Saints would accept a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

What we do know is that the Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints have likely discussed compensation. Simply put, Payton wouldn’t be meeting with Arizona if there was an issue relating to compensation.

  • Sean Payton coaching record: 152-89, .631 winning percentage, 9-8 in the playoffs

As you can see, Payton is among the most-successful head coaches in modern NFL history. Pretty much every team with an opening would have interest in his services. It’s just not yet known whether the Cardinals would be a great fit. We’ll find out soon enough.