As of Monday, there are now three NFL head coaching vacancies that will need to be filled later this offseason. Sean Payton, who has spent a year out of the league as he works with FOX Sports covering the NFL, is a popular coaching candidate who has been reportedly assembling a staff in preparation for a return to the sideline.
While there are three coaching vacancies, with openings in Carolina, Denver, and Indianapolis, we’re still early in the process. Chances are, with two more weeks to go, we’ll see several other NFL front offices decide they need to make a coaching change.
One name to keep an eye on is coach Payton, but he’s technically still under contract with the New Orleans Saints. Meaning even if/when he does say he wants back in, he would be bound to return to the Saints, barring a trade. Being that the Saints just hired Dennis Allen a season ago, many expect his job to be safe, which likely places Payton on the trade block.
Unless, of course, Payton doesn’t like the coaching destinations that are available.
Sean Payton to New Orleans Saints could rope in Tom Brady too
One NFL insider reportedly has sources that suggest Payton returning to his old stead in New Orleans is the “worst-kept secret” among those in the know. This is a big turnaround from the previous assumption that had Payton picking from some of the most desirable landing spots available this upcoming offseason.
Making this rumor even juicier is the nugget that Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk includes, mentioning the idea of Tom Brady and Payton teaming up in New Orleans. The two reportedly came close to making the dream a reality with the Miami Dolphins an offseason ago, and Brady is set for unrestricted free agency once the season wraps up.
Florio’s sources indicate Payton has no interest in coaching the Broncos or Panthers. The Chargers and Cowboys are playoff-bound and may not feel inclined to shake up the foundation either. Basically, Payton’s best options could be drying up before our very eyes. If he’s hung up on returning to NFL sidelines in 2023, his best opportunity may be in the exact spot that he left behind.
Yet, the idea of bringing in Brady sounds too good to be true with what again projects to be -$57 million in cap space for the Saints. This could be the reason Payton ultimately decides to wait out this storm a bit longer.