Rumor has it that Super Bowl-winning coach Sean Payton is ready to un-retire and return to an NFL sideline. His pedigree is such that any team with a vacancy will be looking at making him their new head coach. However, he is still under contract with the New Orleans Saints, and a team looking to hire him will need to give up a draft pick, possibly a first rounder.
Here are three possible landing spots for Sean Payton.
Los Angeles Chargers
The love affair with Brandon Staley and his commitment to analytics may be over, despite his team reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2018. Staley refused to sit his starters in an all but meaningless Week 18 game, which led to injuries to Mike Williams and Joey Bosa.
Payton is seen as a quarterback guru, and is probably salivating at the chance to coach someone like Justin Herbert, who is easily top-five at his position. The roster is also stacked, albeit injury-ridden from year-to-year.
The risk-taking mentality will still be there with Payton, so the identity of the team wouldn’t even have to change that much. If Staley takes an early and unwarranted loss in these playoffs, look for Payton to potentially take his place.
The Colts have been playing rent-a-quarterback for the past few seasons, and, to put it lightly, it hasn’t worked out. It cost Frank Reich, another quarterback guru, his job after not being able to turn around Carson Wentz, whom he coached in Philadelphia, and Matt Ryan, who is a former MVP.
This job is a bit tougher of a sell, because the quarterback position isn’t solidified in Indianapolis. However, owner Jim Irsay is probably not only ready to give him full roster control, but will pay Payton whatever he wants.
Given that a high draft pick will have to go to the Saints to acquire his services, Payton and the team will have to commit to one more year of losing. But the 2024 quarterback draft class is much better than this year’s. If they get a talented young player, then Indy is off and running.
Now to the most obvious and most expected answer. The Dallas Cowboys have not been to a Super Bowl in over a quarter century. They have a chance this year, but the playoff matchups have fans nervous about their chance to get that far. But, that may be a good thing.
Owner Jerry Jones is clearly tired of being a playoff footnote. Historically, he doesn’t care to hire or retain coaches that overshadow him in the eyes of Cowboys fans (see: Jason Garrett and Mike McCarthy). This streak, though, has to come to an end for Dallas to continue to be seen as NFL royalty. Payton can get the most out of Dak Prescott and this roster, period.
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Featured image courtesy of Rob Carr/Getty Images
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