Sean Payton has informed the New Orleans Saints that he is stepping away. They will now be in the market for a new head coach for the first time since 2006. Here are five potential head coach candidates for the New Orleans Saints.
1. Dennis Allen
New Orleans may want to hire from within. If they do so, they can promote defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. While his first time as a head coach didn’t go well with the Oakland Raiders, he has done a really good job getting good play out of the Saints’ defense since 2015. When Payton has had to miss a game, Allen has filled in before. He also has experience as an assistant with the Falcons and Broncos.
Allen will have to want to take over a team that is projected to be approximately $70 million over the cap heading into the offseason. He has familiarity with the players and has done a great job with the defense, but he also posted just an 8-28 record in three seasons with the Raiders. With the cap space issue, the Saints may be best suited to promote from within and Allen would likely take the job.
2. Aaron Glenn
Campbell may be satisfied in Detroit, so the Saints could go in a similar, but different direction. Glenn left the Saints’ organization with Campbell to be Detroit’s defensive coordinator. The Detroit defense struggled, but they also are trying to rebuild the team at the moment. Glenn also was an assistant for the Browns, but he did play for the Saints in the last year of his career.
After being with the Saints from 2016-2020, Glenn has familiarity with the players. It might take that familiarity for a coach to want to take the job given the cap issues. He helped the Saints defense during his time with the team and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network is already reporting that Glenn and Allen are expected to get interviews.
3. Dan Campbell
If Payton had made his decision to step away a year earlier, the team may have just promoted Dan Campbell. He was the assistant head coach with the team from 2016 to 2020. Now he is the head coach of the Detroit Lions. Campbell also spent time with the Dolphins as an assistant before joining the Saints. He actually played for the Saints at the end of his playing career, giving him good connections to the franchise.
In his first year with the Lions, Campbell won just three games, which may prevent the Saints from pursuing him. It appears that his players love playing for him though and he really did well with a depleted roster. Whether he wants to leave a job he just took over to in order to return to the Saints is up for question, but his familiarity with the players already on the roster is a positive.
4. Kellen Moore
A little while ago, the Saints plucked an assistant coach from Dallas and went on a string of success. That coach was Payton. Moore is the offensive coordinator in Dallas. Despite losing in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs, Moore helped the Cowboys score the most points per game in the NFL this season. He has been an assistant for the Cowboys since 2018 and been the offensive coordinator since 2019.
While he is very young, Moore could be the right person for the job. He knows offense and is familiar with the modern player, as he is just 33 years old after retiring from the NFL following the 2017 season. The cap space issues may make him wait for a different opportunity, but the Saints will need to figure out their offense in the future, as they ranked in the bottom half of the league in 2021.
One of the hottest names on the head coaching market the last several years is Bieniemy, but he has failed to get a job. He has helped the Chiefs offense and the development of Patrick Mahomes as the team’s offensive coordinator. His road to becoming the offensive coordinator had several stops at the college level and with the Minnesota Vikings.
For some reason, Bieniemy has not been hired as a head coach. The Saints would make some sense because they really need to fix their offense. They may not be able to get the new names on the market, but if Bieniemy has trouble with the open jobs again, the Saints could have a shot to land him. He will have to work with the bad cap situation, but he could really help the Saints’ offense.
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