A new candidate has emerged in the Sean Payton sweepstakes

Sean Payton
Sean Payton / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

As the New Orleans Saints' disappointing season drags on, there's at least one thing to look forward to beyond 2022.

A Sean Payton trade. Payton likely won't come back to coach the Saints, yet the team could nab valuable draft capital in exchange for him since he's technically under contract with New Orleans until 2024.

The consensus is that Payton can command at least two first-round picks, which would obviously benefit the Saints in a huge way given that NOLA doesn't have a top pick in 2023.

In an exclusive ESPN article, Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler reported that Payton is keeping his eye on potential openings with the Los Angeles Chargers and Arizona Cardinals. Payton himself has refused to confirm anything, rumors or otherwise, and appears content with his FOX Sports studio duties, yet the Cardinals getting tossed in the mix does spice things up a bit.

Former Saints HC Sean Payton has a growing list of suitors in 2022

This the latest development in the Sean Payton saga, which started back in January of 2022 when Payton announced he was stepping down from the Saints' franchise.

Payton had been linked to the Chargers earlier this year, and a head coach-QB duo of Payton and Justin Herbert is admittedly a very exciting prospect.

Los Angeles is sitting second in the AFC West with a 5-5 record, yet if the team fails to make the postseason for the second consecutive time under Brandon Staley's reign, the Chargers have every reason to pursue a new coach.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, look like the more combustible franchise with Kliff Kingsbury on track to lead his team to a sub-.500 record in 2022. Since being hired in 2019, Kingsbury has only secured one winning season in Arizona.

After an 11-6 finish in 2021, the Cardinals entered 2022 full of hope and seemingly had all the right roster pieces to be a playoff contender.

However, it appears Kyler Murray has regressed after signing a mega-contract this past offseason, and halfway through the season, the Cardinals sit in measly third place in NFC West below the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.

As always, the Dallas Cowboys remain linked to Sean Payton as well, though given the Cowboys' success so far this season the franchise may be less inclined to make a personnel change.

Next. Early Head Coach Candidates to Consider in 2023. dark

Where will Sean Payton end up? The roulette wheel keeps on spinning.