New Orleans Saints former head coach Sean Payton definitely won’t be coaching in 2022, but a few NFL teams could be interested in hiring him in the near future.
Payton announced he was taking a hiatus after an exhausting 2021 season and will most likely pursue a brief stint in media. The 58-year-old currently has offers from both Amazon and Fox Sports to serve as a game analyst, though nothing has been confirmed yet.
Even during his Saints tenure, Payton has been connected to the Dallas Cowboys head coach position having worked for the franchise as an assistant coach and quarterbacks coach.
The rumors swirling around Payton and the Cowboys may never cease, but now it seems another team has joined the mix.
Front Office Sports writer Michael McCarthy reported that the Carolina Panthers may target Payton after his mini-retirement:
"The Panthers might be willing to wait a year while the former New Orleans Saints head coach recharges his batteries on TV. Matt Rhule is currently entering his third season as head coach of the Panthers."
New Orleans Saints former HC Sean Payton could join a division rival
Per McCarthy, teams could engage in an expensive bidding war for Payton’s services, and such a war could benefit NOLA quite a bit.
Since Payton is still under contract with the Saints through 2024, any team that wants to hire him would have to compensate the Saints with significant draft capital, which could go as high as a few first-round picks.
Payton going to Dallas is one thing, but Payton going to the Saints’ NFC South rivals? NOLA will surely ask for an arm and a leg if the Panthers want to trade for the esteemed head coach.
Current Carolina coach Matt Rhule has yet to impress after recording five wins last season and missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year. Rhule has plenty of work to do with his quarterback conundrum in 2022, and there’s a real chance the Panthers will want an experienced face and “winning” coach like Payton to lead the team in the future.
Seeing Sean Payton coach a team not named the Saints will be hard to imagine, but it could happen sooner than fans think.