NFL’s Ian Rapoport first broke the news that Payton will be stepping away from the head coaching position for next season. It’s a surprising revelation given how Payton has stood by the franchise through thick and thin, though this past season may have understandably exhausted him more than others.
After 16 years at the helm, Payton informed the team he will be retiring at least temporarily, and it’s still unclear what Payton plans to do next.
One thing is nearly certain: Payton will not be coaching any team in 2022. Though there’s still speculation that some television networks will try to hire him, Payton seems intent on taking a mini-retirement to rest after a draining 2021 season.
The 58-year-old was hired as head coach back in 2006, and prior to his Saints tenure, Payton worked with the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and Dallas Cowboys.
Sean Payton exits out of contract with New Orleans Saints, likely won’t coach in 2022
As Rapoport notes above, Payton has three years remaining on his deal after signing his latest extension in 2019.
The Saints technically hold his rights until 2024 if Payton wants to return to coaching. Should another team want to sign him during that time span, they would have to “compensate” NOLA somehow, whether through draft picks or money.
2021 marked the first time in five seasons that Sean Payton’s Saints missed the playoffs despite eking to a 9-8 winning record.
The Saints were depleted by injuries, salary cap cuts, and COVID-19 absences and hoped for a somewhat fresh start in 2022.
Without Sean Payton, though, New Orleans’ problems become much more difficult to fix. With no starting quarterback, an uninspiring receiver room, and with the current roster exceeding the cap by more than $71 million dollars, the Saints need leadership and stability now more than ever.
They lost Drew Brees just a year ago, and it appears Sean Payton is leaving for at least the 2022 season. This offseason, the New Orleans Saints will have to try to find a wholly new identity.