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Sean Payton unveils expected trade cost for his services

Sean Payton

Will Sean Payton return to NFL sidelines as a head coach for the 2023 football season? That seems to be the biggest question right now in coaching circles, as five head coaching vacancies remain open.

After stepping away from the New Orleans Saints for the 2022 season, Payton instead took a job with FOX Sports as a football analyst, but many believe the former Super Bowl-winning head coach is ready to return to the league.

Except, it’s not so simple, as Payton is still under contract with the Saints through 2024, meaning any team looking to hire him must first work out a trade with his old team. It’s not exactly a straight shot, but there is a feasible path for any team hoping to hire the proven coach.

But there’s also recent speculation suggesting Payton is split between the decision to return, or take another year off, waiting for the perfect opportunity.

Then again, those doubts may have just flown out the window, based on his recent comments on ‘The Herd’, with Colin Cowherd.

Related: NFL head coach interview tracker: Updated NFL coach rumors

Sean Payton trade cost revealed

NFL: New Orleans Saints-Press Conference
Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

It has been widely reported that the expected cost for any team looking to acquire Payton will start at a first round pick. It may seem like a hefty price to pay, but considering he holds a career 152-89 record in the regular season, some teams may find the cost may be worth it.

Not to mention, he’s not the first coach to be traded for a first-round pick. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots) and Jon Gruden (Oakland Raiders) are among the coaches who also changed organizations, with a first-round selection changing teams in exchange.

For many NFL owners, the idea of landing an experienced mind like Payton could outweigh gambling on another unproven commodity that could set their organization back a few more years.

According to Payton, via his appearance on ‘The Herd’, he revealed the trade cost to acquire his services, saying he has spoken to Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis and trade compensation to acquire him will likely be a “mid to late first-round pick.

So far, four teams have received permission from the Saints to interview Payton. Here are the picks they hold in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • Arizona Cardinals – 3rd overall pick
  • Carolina Panthers – 9th overall pick
  • Denver Broncos -29th overall pick (VIA SF)
  • Houston Texans – 2nd overall pick + 12th overall pick

Based on Payton’s comments, it would appear the Cardinals would either have to move down or add another first-round selection to secure his services. The Saints do not own their own pick, so a swap can be ruled out. But each of the Panthers, Broncos, and Texans may already have the required ammo to land one of the top head coaches available in the 2023 hiring cycle.

Now they only have to meet salary requirements as Payton is one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL. Of course, if a team is willing to part with their top pick, finding common ground on his salary shouldn’t be a large hurdle to clear.

Related: NFL coaching candidates: Best head coach, coordinator and GM candidates in 2023

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