The Miami Dolphins are excited about what head coach Mike McDaniel will do for the offense in 2022 and beyond. However, Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross might still be thinking about what could have been with Sean Payton.
Payton announced this spring that he was stepping away from the NFL, leaving his post as the New Orleans Saints head coach. Despite his public statements that he would have only coached New Orleans in 2022 if he didn’t take a break, multiple NFL teams expressed interest in him.
It’s been known for months that Miami pursued Payton, eyeing a pairing of the future Hall of Fame coach with quarterback Tom Brady. Ultimately, the effort barely got off the ground with Payton turning the team down and the Brian Flores lawsuit erasing any shot of Brady joining the Dolphins’ organization.
While Miami is moving forward with McDaniel, we are gaining more information about what happened during this pursuit of the Saints’ head coach.
According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, the Dolphins offered Payton a contract worth $100 million over four seasons. If he agreed to the deal, it would have made him the highest paid coach in NFL history.
Contracts for NFL coaches are largely kept secret with the Jon Gruden deal – $100 million for 10 years (2018) – the only known contract reaching that mark. Some teams reportedly do offer additional incentives and benefits to coaches, increasing their salaries beyond a typical contract.
What will it cost an NFL team to hire Sean Payton?
Of course, Payton would have cost the Dolphins more than just money. If Ross wanted to hire the legendary coach, bringing in one of the best offensive-minded coaches in NFL history, it would have required a trade.
While there is limited precedent, the expectation is New Orleans likely wants at least a first-round pick for the rights to hire its coach.
It might seem like a high asking price, especially considering the potential contract Payton will need. However, he is an innovative play-caller with a tremendous background in getting the most out of his starting quarterback. By the time the 2023 season rolls around, it wouldn’t be a surprise if at least one team is willing to meet that cost or even exceed it.