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Sean Payton eyeing return to the NFL: 5 possible destinations for legendary head coach

Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has not been quiet about a potential return to the NFL. Despite trading in his playbook for the media world, Payton continues to be linked to a return to the league.

That’s been taken to a whole new level with reports suggesting that he’s eyeing a couple teams. As one of the most-successful head coaches in modern NFL history, Payton will be on-demand. And while any team acquiring him would likely have to hand the Saints multiple draft picks, his past success will lead to a ton of interest. Below, we look at five ideal Sean Payton landing spots as he prepares for a return to the NFL.

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Los Angeles Chargers find Justin Herbert offensive-minded coach

sean payton landing spots
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If there’s a match made in football heaven, this is it. Payton made a name for himself in helping turn Drew Brees into a first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback. Just imagine what he could do with Justin Herbert in Southern California. From an on-field perspective, this would be among the most-ideal landing spots for the Super Bowl head coach.

Off the field, Payton wants to head to a warm climate. It’s why he was linked to the Miami Dolphins in the past. Obviously, Los Angeles qualifies. With his Chargers at a disappointing 6-6 this season, head coach Brandon Staley is also on the hot seat. Payton to the Chargers would just make too much sense.

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Indianapolis Colts add experienced head coach

sean payton landing spots
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The feel good story of one Jeff Saturday in Indianapolis has been replaced with the obvious. He’s in way over his head with the Colts, leading to the belief that the interim head man will not be long for the job. In reality, the Colts need to find someone capable of turning around this sinking ship.

We expect owner Jim Irsay to go big-game hunting. He has exhausted a ton of cash and capital in building a roster most figured would contend for a conference title. Instead, these Colts are closer to last place than playoff contention. That can’t sit well with the owner. Making a splash in hiring Payton would make sense, even if it does cost multiple draft picks.

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Sean Payton returns to the New Orleans Saints

Occam’s razor. When one option makes more sense than others, why not simply go with that option? Payton’s surprising decision to resign led to the Saints replacing him with longtime defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. Fast forward several months, and it’s become apparent that Allen is in over his head. He’s a great coordinator, but has no business being a head coach in the NFL.

New Orleans will demand multiple draft picks if Payton were to be hired by another team. Why not work together to bring him back to the Bayou? The Saints are about to enter full-scale rebuild mode. There’s not a better option to lead that than the most-successful head coach in franchise history. It just makes too much sense.

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Houston Texans shock the NFL world by hiring Sean Payton

At 1-10-1 on the season and in the initial stages of a rebuild, it wouldn’t normally make sense for Payton to choose the Texans. The organization is also a hot mess led by owner Cal McNair. One would think that Payton could find a better potential landing spot.

With all of that said, Houston is in line to have the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. It also has another first-round selection from the Deshaun Watson trade with the Cleveland Browns. For someone like Payton, joining this sinking ship with the possibility of adding a young quarterback like Alabama’s Bryce Young could be intriguing.

Think about it this way. Payton doesn’t have a whole lot to prove. The idea would be to see if he can turn around one of the most embarrassing organizations in professional sports. If he were to do that, the legend would just grow even more.

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Los Angeles Rams replace Sean McVay with Sean Payton

NFL: NFC Championship Game-Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints
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It isn’t necessarily a well-kept secret that McVay’s largely successful tenure with the Rams could be short-lived. He has his eyes on a potential broadcast gig and is looking more at his personal life. That is to say, starting a family with his new wife and being able to spend time with her without coaching interfering.

If McVay does opt to “retire,” the Rams would make a lot of sense for Payton. He’d be that big-name hire that would define the Rams’ existence near Hollywood. It would also send a signal that Los Angeles is not about to rebuild after a disastrous and injury-plagued season for the defending Super Bowl champions.

  • Sean Payton coaching record: 152-89, .631 winning percentage, 9-8 playoffs, 1 Super Bowl title

That is a hell of a resume for Payton. And while draft pick compensation heading back to New Orleans could be an issue, we know Rams general manager Les Snead treats picks like they’re roughly as valuable as leftovers from Applebee’s.