Sean Payton’s hiatus from the NFL may last just one season. The former Saints head coach is believed to eye a return to the league in 2023 and it appears like there are a handful of situations that could be of interest to him. A recent report from the Miami Herald, citing an unnamed source, highlights the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, and Los Angeles Chargers among the possible destinations for Payton next year if those jobs open up.
The report adds that Payton’s preferences in his next stop are warm weather, a competitive roster, and, most importantly, control over personnel decisions.
Before hiring Mike McDaniel to be their next head coach, rumors swirled that the Dolphins were going to poach Payton from New Orleans and possibly even pair him with Tom Brady, who’d eye an ownership stake along with playing quarterback for the franchise. The Herald reports that Miami never made an offer to Payton because the club was not granted permission by the Saints to speak with him after they made the request, and did not want to fall into a tampering scandal. However, the report does say Payton was flattered by the Dolphins’ interest.
Even though things didn’t fall into place for Payton in the Dolphins this offseason, there is the possibility they could link up next offseason, especially if McDaniel’s first season doesn’t produce to the level the organization hopes. The team would still need to acquire Payton, however, as the Saints own his rights through 2024. Even the possibility of an on-field pairing between Payton and Brady (who share the same agent) could be on the table at that juncture as the quarterback is set to be a free agent next offseason. Of course, it’s unclear what Brady — who’ll turn 45 in August — will do following the 2022 campaign.
As for the other mentioned destinations, Payton joining the Cowboys has been rumored for years. If the team decides to move on from Mike McCarthy, it’s a logical pairing given the relationship between Payton and Dallas owner Jerry Jones. However, because Jones is the club’s GM and has control over the roster, that would be a sticking point if Payton was strict with his parameters for his next club. Meanwhile, if the Chargers have a down year under Brandon Staley, teaming up with quarterback phenom Justin Herbert would be another strong situation to fall into.
“I still have a vision for doing things in football,” Payton said during his sendoff presser. “And I’ll be honest with you, that might be coaching again at some point. I don’t think it’s this year, but I think maybe in the future.”
The 58-year-old is 152-89 as a head coach during his tenure with the Saints and 9-8 in the playoffs, which includes a win in the Super Bowl in 2009.