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Sean Payton reportedly has a ranked list of preferred coaching landing spots

Sean Payton
Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe by now, you have heard of Sean Payton having an interest in returning to NFL sidelines as a head coach in 2023. There have only been stories about his potential return seemingly every other week.

Yet, as we approach what’s referred to as ‘Black Monday,’ when several NFL head coaches receive their walking papers following the final week of the regular season, the rumors are ramping up.

The latest discussions of Payton unretiring include a tiered ranking of which franchises he’d like to lead in 2023.

Related: Sean Payton ‘putting together an all-star staff’ in anticipation of NFL return in 2023

Two playoff teams are atop Sean Payton’s list

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re a coach that stepped away from the game in fear of having a bad season in which you miss the postseason, as the New Orleans Saints appear poised to do, wouldn’t the prospect of joining a playoff roster sound too good to be true? Chances are, it is, but that didn’t prevent this report from making the rounds.

According to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, Payton has a “high affinity” for both the Los Angeles Chargers, and Dallas Cowboys head coaching gigs.

The Chargers, who just clinched a playoff berth for the first time under Brandon Staley, suddenly feel like a team not rushing to make major changes. But, of course, an ugly playoff elimination could quickly cause a team with Justin Herbert as the face of the franchise to get sweet on the idea of adding Payton, who’s an offensive guru.

Ditto for the Cowboys, who are poised to enter the postseason for the second time in coach Mike McCarthy’s three-year tenure. Yet, there’s also a sense that simply getting to the Wild Card round doesn’t satisfy team owner Jerry Jones. Another one-and-done postseason appearance could spur change, especially to pair back up with his old pal Payton.

The other team mentioned on Payton’s rumored coaching ranks includes the Arizona Cardinals, who could be mulling a move away from Kliff Kingsbury after a disappointing season. Anderson did not think the Denver Broncos would be of interest to Payton, due to not having a connection with the general manager, George Paton, who’s likely to stay on in the same role.

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