Sean Payton Saints
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Following Sunday’s shocking upset loss at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings, Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints appear to be at a crossroads.

New Orleans has won a grand total of two playoff games over the past six seasons. In fact, Payton is 4-6 in 10 postseason games since leading New Orleans to the Lombardi back in 2009.

It has us thinking that the time might be right for New Orleans and Payton’s long marriage to come to an end.

The reasoning: Tied at the hip with Drew Brees, Payton will soon see the future Hall of Famer retire. Why not expedite what promises to be a change in New Orleans by moving on from Payton right now?

The timing: New Orleans will be one of the top potential head-coaching jobs in the NFL once the team does move on from Payton.

  • Who would not want to coach in New Orleans? We’re talking about a vibrant city with a ton of history. The Bayou itself is a tremendous selling point.
  • There’s also a surplus of potential offensive-minded collegiate coaches who could seriously consider going pro with the Saints.
  • That list includes big-name head coaches in that of Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, Matt Rhule of Baylor and young Oklahoma head man Lincoln Riley.
  • All three of these coaches would enable the Saints to usher in a new era with Brees over the short term and a young quarterback moving forward.

The compensation: This would not be about the Saints firing Sean Payton. Instead, it would be a mutual parting of the ways with New Orleans adding to its draft pick arsenal.

  • Numerous NFL teams would be willing to call the Saints up and offer draft picks for Payton should he be put on the proverbial block.
  • While one potential team in that of the Cowboys just recently hired a new head coach, there are other intriguing options out there.
  • The Cleveland Browns come to mind. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Baker Mayfield attempt to turn around a fledgling career under Payton?
  • This is all conjecture, but we’re also sure some teams with coaches under contract would rethink their plans if Payton were made available. That would help the Saints net some important draft pick assets moving forward.

The Drew Brees factor: Brees has indicated that he’s interested in playing into his mid 40s, but the end of the line is on the horizon.

  • Is Brees still a top-notch quarterback? Sure. But as we saw with Tom Brady this past season, Father Time catches up to even the best of them.
  • By moving on from Payton, the Saints would be signaling that the end of this current variation of the organization is on the horizon.
  • Whether it’s catering an offense around electric young quarterback Taysom Hill or someone else moving forward, new blood could make a ton of sense for the Saints right now.

Bottom line

Sean Payton is the most successful head coach in Saints history. He’s a potential future Hall of Famer. How the veteran offensive mind helped Brees build a career that’s destined for Canton is nothing short of extraordinary.

But at some point, two entities must separate from one another in order for each side to move forward. We’ve seen it with the best of them in the modern history of the NFL.

That time could very well be now for Payton and the Saints. It really is that simple.

Vincent Frank
Editor here at Sportsnaut. Contributor at Forbes. Previous bylines include Bleacher Report, Yahoo!, SB Nation. Heard on ESPN Radio and NBC Sports Radio. Northern California native living it up in Las Vegas. The Keto lifestyle. Traveler. Reader. TV watcher. Dog daddy. Sam Malone = greatest TV character ever. "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary," John Keating.