The shocking resignation of former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton earlier this week threw the NFL world for a loop.
Payton, 58, has been among the most-successful coaches in modern NFL history. That included leading the Saints to nine playoff appearances and a Super Bowl title in 16 seasons.
For Payton, it’s all about making the transition from coaching to the media. As he noted in his resignation press conference, the respected head coach has received interest from multiple outlets. Considering he still has multiple years remaining on his contract with the Saints, any team even showing some sort of interest would have to contact New Orleans.
In talking about all of this on the “Dan Patrick Show” Thursday, Payton clarified that any team showing interest in him would have to talk to the Saints first. He also made some news by telling Patrick that two teams have had “back door” contact with him.
“You can have a back door, hey would you have any interest? That’s happened maybe with a couple teams,” Payton said.
When pressed on this the veteran coach wouldn’t say what teams had shown back door interest in him. He did, however, rule out the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears.
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Sean Payton done with coaching for now
“I am not looking at that path right now. At some point, I don’t think I am finished coaching. I was excited about getting two or three calls or texts from people in the television industry,” Payton continued.
There’s a darn good chance that Fox and Amazon will end up vying for Payton’s services to be either an in-game analyst or work the studio. Remember, Amazon earned exclusive rights to “Thursday Night Football” starting next season and is looking to go big-game hunting.
As for Sean Payton potentially returning to the NFL as a coach some time in the future, most of the talk has surrounded his former Cowboys team. Payton is close with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. He also worked as the Cowboys’ assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach under Bill Parcells from 2003-05, immediately before taking the job in New Orleans.
Dallas is an interesting potential landing spot moving forward. It appears that the team remains committed to current head coach Mike McCarthy even after a premature playoff exit at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card round. However, there’s no telling what the future will bring for McCarthy in Big D should further playoff struggles be the name of the game moving forward.
In the unlikely event that Payton changes course and looks to coach another team in 2022, there’s now six current openings outside of his former Saints organization.
The Bears are not one of them after they hired Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus to be their next head coach. This leaves the likes of the Las Vegas Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans as teams who could have reached out to Payton through back channels.
Of that group, the Raiders would actually make the most sense. Following Jon Gruden resigning in disgrace during the 2021 season, rumors suggested that Las Vegas could look to pull off a blockbuster trade for a head coach. Sean Payton and Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers were the two names talked about the most.
Either way, we’re likely looking at Payton coaching rumors picking up next offseason. He seems committed to making the transition to the media.