Saints Rumors

NFL Reserve/Futures Deals: 1/26/23

Today’s reserve/futures deals:

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Coaching Rumors: Payton, Flores, Evero

By far the biggest name on this year’s coaching carousel, Sean Payton looks to have seen his momentum stall a bit. While Payton is interviewing with the Cardinals today, his candidacy has not produced a second interview anywhere yet. The Panthers met with Payton this week but just hired Frank Reich. While the Texans remain on the radar for the longtime Saints HC, Jeremy Fowler of does not get the sense much momentum is present for such a partnership. The Broncos have been connected to other names recently as well, but that path may be dwindling as well. There might not be a place for Payton — as odd as that sounds, given his track record — on this year’s market, Ian Rapoport of offers (video link)

Trade compensation being required to land the Super Bowl XLIV-winning HC, with the price varying from a first-rounder and other early picks to two first-rounders, has affected teams’ plans here. Payton, 59, has also been mentioned as waffling on this year’s lot of jobs. Returning to FOX for another year and surveying the 2024 market, when two jobs he has long been connected to (Chargers, Cowboys), could be available might be what comes out of this run of interviews. Payton remains in this year’s mix, but buzz has died down.

Here is the latest from the coaching landscape:

  • Regarding the Cardinals‘ search, Brian Flores remains firmly in the mix. GM candidates received the impression Arizona is high on the three-year Miami HC-turned-Pittsburgh linebackers coach, Fowler notes. Previously mentioned as a frontrunner — due partially to the Cards hiring ex-Patriots exec Monti Ossenfort as GM — Flores may have a right-hand man on defense lined up. Some around the league expect the ex-Dolphins HC to bring Gerald Alexander, Miami’s defensive backs coach for the past three years, with him to Arizona, per Fowler. With the Dolphins looking for a new DC, Alexander may be on the move anyway. While ESPN colleague Dan Graziano points to Vance Joseph and Aaron Glenn remaining strong candidates, Flores has generated the most buzz to this point. Flores has also interviewed for the Falcons and Vikings’ DC posts.
  • Raheem Morris booked a second HC interview with the Colts and also met with the Broncos and Texans. Should the Rams‘ DC land a second HC opportunity, Albert Breer of notes Ejiro Evero is the team’s top candidate to replace him. The Denver DC is no lock to be available. He is under contract with the Broncos, who blocked a Falcons DC interview, and has gone through second HC interviews with the Colts and Texans. Denver could pass on retaining Evero by hiring a defensive-minded coach, of course. Evero came to Denver from Los Angeles; he spent five years on Sean McVay‘s staff.
  • The Browns considered bringing in Vic Fangio for a DC interview, Mary Kay Cabot of notes, but they stood down and ended up hiring Jim Schwartz. Cleveland having run a 4-3 defense in recent years may have been a reason for passing on a Fangio meeting, Cabot offers. Fangio has remained quite popular still, having interviewed for three DC jobs — the Dolphins, Falcons and Panthers — already.
  • The Bills are making a change to their defensive staff. They fired safeties coach Jim Salgado, Alaina Getzenberg of tweets. Salgado had been on McDermott’s staff throughout the head coach’s six-season tenure.
  • Giants DC Don Martindale is attached to a three-year contract, Dan Duggan of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The Giants thought enough of the veteran coordinator, whom the Ravens did not bring back last year, they gave him the three-year deal as opposed to the more common two-year pact. Giants ST coordinator Thomas McGaughey also received extensive interest from other teams, with Duggan adding the Chargers joined the Panthers in offering him their ST coordinator jobs. McGaughey, who has been with the Giants since 2018, turned down a Bears interview and opted to stay and work for Brian Daboll.

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers’ hire, this year’s vacancy count sits at four. Last year’s Saints and Buccaneers moves, however, showed these job openings can emerge at unexpected points.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-26-23 (4:36pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spins, many of the league’s offensive and defensive coordinator positions are open as well. Teams seeking new head coaches will soon begin OC and DC searches — some have already started those processes — but a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

The Browns and Patriots have begun 2023’s coordinator hires. Here are the rest of the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 1-26-23 (10:06pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Carolina Panthers 

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

NFC South Notes: Panthers, Saints, Matthews

Panthers GM Scott Fitterer provided rare transparency about his team’s first-round decision ahead of last year’s draft, indicating the team was likely down to quarterback or left tackle at No. 6 overall. The pick became Ikem Ekwonu, and the non-Kenny Pickett QB contingent tumbled into the third round. Carolina scooped up one of those arms, Matt Corral, but he missed the season due to injury. With Sam Darnold ticketed for free agency, the Panthers face another offseason of QB questions.

Both Fitterer and assistant GM Dan Morgan spent much of the fall scouting the top four quarterbacks in the 2023 class in person, according Joe Person of The Athletic (subscription required). Some of these passers will be gone by the time the Panthers pick at No. 9. Mel Kiper Jr.’s first 2023 mock draft has Carolina, however, taking the fourth quarterback in this year’s class — Florida’s Anthony Richardson — in Round 1. The scouting missions to see Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Will Levis and the team’s long-running need at the position will connect it to a potential trade-up maneuver. The Bears, who traded up for Justin Fields after the Panthers passed on Stroud’s Ohio State predecessor two years ago, are open for business at No. 1. It remains to be seen which non-QB-needy teams from Nos. 2-8 will join them.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • The Saints are retaining offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael for what will be his 14th season in the role, but Jeff Duncan of notes they moved on from their second-longest-tenured offensive staffer. The Saints parted ways with Dan Roushar after 10 seasons. Roushar, 62, had held a number of key roles on New Orleans’ staff since 2013 — offensive line coach and running backs coach among them — but was working as the team’s run-game coordinator and tight ends coach over the past two seasons. The Saints ranked 18th and 19th on the ground, respectively, over the past two years. A former college OC, Roushar has only coached for the Saints at the NFL level.
  • As more details surface on Michael Thomasrecent restructure, the likelier it appears the Saints will release him. The former All-Pro’s reworked deal includes a $31MM roster bonus due on Day 3 of the 2023 league year, and Nick Underhill of adds Thomas would collect a whopping $30MM if he is active for four games next season (Twitter link). So, if Thomas is on the Saints’ roster absent another restructure, he would collect a cool $61MM. That reality seems … unlikely to commence. If Thomas is designated as a post-June 1 cut, the Saints would only be tagged with $11MM-plus in dead money this year.
  • In more Saints restructure news, the team pushed back the void-year vesting dates for David Onyemata and Marcus Davenport. Both D-linemen’s contracts are now set to void March 14, as opposed to February 17, Field Yates of tweets. That gives the team more time to negotiate extensions with each free agent-to-be, and GM Mickey Loomis said recently (via Underhill) the team is interested in re-signing both. Due to restructuring Davenport’s fifth-year option, the Saints would be tagged with $7.6MM in dead money absent an extension before March 14 — the final day of the 2022 league year. A $10.2MM bill would come if Onyemata is not extended by that date.
  • The Falcons created $4.2MM in 2023 cap space by doing another Jake Matthews restructure. The team accelerated $7MM of the left tackle’s 2023 roster bonus onto its 2022 payroll, Yates tweets. After eating considerable dead money over the past two years — much of it from the Julio Jones, Matt Ryan and Deion Jones trades — the Falcons are set to hold the second-most cap space in the NFL — more than $56MM.

Dolphins To Interview Vic Fangio, Kris Richard, Sean Desai For DC

Vic Fangio will interview for a third defensive coordinator position during this year’s cycle. The Dolphins’ previously rumored interest will produce a meeting.

Miami is set for interviews with Fangio, Seahawks assistant Sean Desai and Saints co-DC Kris Richard, according to Ian Rapoport of (Twitter links). Fangio and Desai worked together with the Bears, while Richard has been a fixture in defensive coordinator searches in recent offseasons. The Fangio and Desai meetings will occur Wednesday.

Richard, 43, re-emerged as a DC after four seasons on the position coach level. The Saints promoted the veteran staffer to that role, placing him alongside Ryan Nielsen in a rarely utilized co-DC arrangement. The former Seahawks DC had spent time under Rod Marinelli as the Cowboys’ secondary coach from 2018-19 and caught on with the Saints as their DBs coach in 2021. Richard is best known for his time in Seattle, however. He served as the Legion of Boom’s position coach and later Seattle’s DC during that unit’s heyday, and the Seahawks of that period became the first team to lead the NFL in scoring defense in four straight years since the 1950s Browns.

This garnered Richard some HC interest back in the late 2010s — which included a 2019 Dolphins interview — but nothing materialized. The Saints have ranked in the top 10 defensively in each of Richard’s two years with the team, though Dennis Allen has overseen both those units. The Panthers have also spoken to Richard about a meeting. Nielsen has come up as a candidate — in Atlanta and Minnesota — as well, so New Orleans faces the possibility of losing both its DCs this offseason. Desai, the Bears’ DC in 2021, also received an interview request from the Vikings.

Fangio has interviewed for the Falcons and Panthers’ positions thus far but came up in connection to the Dolphins gig soon after it became available. He is believed to be the lead candidate, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweets, with ESPN’s Jeff Darlington noting (via Twitter) Fangio and Mike McDaniel share an agent and have a good relationship.

Fangio, 64, did not last too long in his HC opportunity with the Broncos, though his three-year Denver tenure was the longest since John Fox‘s, but the longtime defensive staffer was long believed to be a hot candidate to return to a full-time role as a DC. That is coming to fruition. Fangio’s options could soon include a return to the 49ers, with the team being connected to rehiring him in the event DeMeco Ryans departs.

Broncos Sean Payton Hire Becoming Less Likely?

The Broncos had scheduled a second Sean Payton interview for this week, but’s Jeff Duncan notes (via Twitter) the meeting is now on hold. Next on Payton’s docket will be interview No. 1 with the Cardinals, but chatter about the FOX analyst hopping off the 2023 coaching carousel to join a potentially flashier ride next year persists.

Payton will meet with the Cardinals on Thursday, per Duncan, who adds the delays in the longtime Saints HC’s schedule lend to the notion he will stay put and not coach in 2023. Payton’s initial Broncos meeting may not have gone as well as initially reported, either. Neither side looks to view this as a “must-do deal,” Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post notes. One GM said, via La Canfora, he expects Payton to stay at FOX for another year — a long-rumored path — and wait out potentially better jobs.

A Payton hire would be a blockbuster for the Broncos, who have struck out with first-time HCs in 2017 (Vance Joseph), 2019 (Vic Fangio) and 2022 (Nathaniel Hackett) and are believed to be prioritizing experience. But it would be expensive — both in terms of financial and trade compensation. A two-first-rounder haul has been floated, though some around the league believe a first-rounder and both of Denver’s 2023 thirds could be enough for New Orleans. The Saints would undoubtedly ask for a bigger return from Carolina, given the potential intra-NFC South jump in that scenario. The Broncos have been more closely connected to Payton compared to the Panthers, but The Athletic’s Joe Person adds Denver may no longer have the former Super Bowl-winning HC as its frontrunner (subscription required).

Considering what has come out on the Broncos’ HC search, it would surprise if the team passed on Payton. Russell Wilson reached out to the well-regarded play-caller, who, as of Monday, was still believed to have the inside track for the job. But the team has interviewed a host of other candidates, including Cowboys DC Dan Quinn, who was close to landing the job last year. If Payton does not have a substantial lead in this race, the Broncos backing off and hiring a coach they would not need to trade for would make sense. Then again, Payton is by far the most accomplished candidate available.

The prospect of Payton waiting out 2024 jobs continues to be discussed around the league, La Canfora adds. This will keep the dots connected to the Chargers and Cowboys positions, gigs Payton has eyed for several months. The Chargers announced intentions to retain Brandon Staley, despite a historic wild-card collapse, and the Cowboys do not look like they will be canning Mike McCarthy after back-to-back 12-win seasons. That said,’s Dianna Russini tweets a mystery team of sorts could lurk. Said team is observing this process and could make a move once it “gets [its] ducks in a row.”

Anonymous suitors notwithstanding, Payton will soon have interviewed for four of the five open positions this year. It is not known if an offer has come his way, but Panthers owner David Tepper was believed to be quite interested in this splashy hire heading into their meeting. Tepper’s reputation of being a “hands-on” owner might also impact Payton’s interest, Person adds.

The Texans, who hold two first-round picks (including No. 2 overall), are believed to intrigue the veteran coach. But buzz about the NFC championship game defensive coordinators — DeMeco Ryans and Jonathan Gannon — and this position is circulating as well, La Canfora adds. Gannon has long been connected to the Texans job, which he interviewed twice for in 2022, and Ryans spent the first six seasons of his playing career in Houston.

Sean Payton Expected To Meet With Broncos, Cardinals

The 2023 head coaching cycle continues to unfold, and the most coveted candidate remains at the center of the latest developments. Sean Payton continues to stand out as the presumed favorite for the Broncos’ vacancy, but his schedule will not be limited to Denver this week.

The former Saints head coach is set to meet with the Broncos in Denver for a second interview, as detailed by’s Jeff Duncan. That initial report was quickly met by others confirming that nothing firm has been scheduled for the Broncos and their coaching finalists as of yet, but in a follow-up, Duncan tweets that the 59-year-old will travel to Denver this Wednesday, suggesting he will interview that night or Thursday.

Payton – who is still under contract with the Saints, meaning a trade package must be agreed upon for him to take a new job elsewhere – has long been connected to Denver. After their Nathaniel Hackett hire resulted in a disastrous performance on offense in particular, the Broncos are expected to pivot to an experienced bench boss. Payton would certainly fit that bill, and bring a championship pedigree to the Mile High City.

It was reported last week that quarterback Russell Wilson spoke to Payton in an attempt to recruit him, something which would be helped by the Rob Walton-led ownership group comfortably being able to meet his salary demands (believed to in the $20-$25MM per year range). Duncan notes that, especially after the relative success of Payton’s first interview with the Broncos, interest between the two sides “appears to be mutual.”

In light of that, Denver7’s Troy Renck adds that Payton is widely believed to have the “inside track” for the Broncos’ position. As Renck notes, the Hackett hire was rushed by general manager George Paton last year in no small part by his looming Jaguars interview; taking a more methodical approach (including second interviews with a shortlist of finalists) has thus always been the intention of this year’s search committee.

Not long after New Orleans granted Denver permission to interview Payton, it was reported that the teams had at least a rough agreement in place on the trade compensation necessary to facilitate a move. Any package the Saints receive would include at least one – if not two – first-round picks, something which is particularly noteworthy in Denver’s case given the price they paid Seattle for Wilson last offseason. ESPN’s Jeff Legwold notes (on Twitter) that some around the league believe a package including the Broncos’ 2023 first-rounder (which will be no higher than 28th overall, given the 49ers’ win yesterday) along with one or both of their thirds would be necessary; Denver does not have a second-rounder this year.

Payton has, of course, drawn considerable interest from other teams as well. One of those is the Panthers, with whom he is expected to meet today. Another is the Cardinals, who were granted permission for an interview one week ago. Veteran Cardinals reporter Howard Balzer reports that Payton will meet with the team this Thursday (Twitter link). That news comes not long after Arizona confirmed the hiring of new general manager Monti Ossenfort, a move which widely expected to precede the arrival of a new bench boss.

It also, however, partially contradicts what had been reported above. In a follow-up, Balzer tweets that Payton’s Denver interview has been delayed, and that his meeting with the Cardinals will take place in Arizona. Between his sit-downs with the Panthers and Cardinals, along with interest shown by the Texans and, presumably, a second interview with Denver at some point, much remains to be determinized with respect to the biggest coaching domino on the current NFL landscape.

QB Rumors: Packers, Carr, Burrow, Colts

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is expected to play in 2023, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (video link). Fowler cites the ~$60MM balloon payment that Rodgers is due between March and the start of the 2023 regular season as a motivating factor for the four-time MVP, and assuming he does want to suit up, Green Bay will have to decide if it wants him back or wants to seek a trade.

The club’s top power brokers, GM Brian Gutekunst and HC Matt LaFleur, have publicly indicated they want Rodgers back in Wisconsin, which could — in Fowler’s estimation — force Jordan Love to request a trade. The 2020 first-rounder believes he is ready to become a QB1, and as he is entering the final year of his rookie deal, now would be a good time for him to get that chance.

Here are more QB rumors from around the league:

  • In the same piece linked above, Fowler says that the Derek Carr sweepstakes will start to heat up as we get closer to the Super Bowl. Carr, whose contract with the Raiders includes a no-trade clause, is beginning to do his homework on possible landing spots, and Fowler hears (unsurprisingly) that the Jets, Saints, and Commanders are expected to have interest. Several clubs have already reached out to Las Vegas to lay the groundwork for trade talks.
  • Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will be eligible for an extension when Cincinnati’s season comes to an end, and Ian Rapoport of reports that the club wants to get a new deal done this offseason. A Burrow extension will be hugely expensive, and owner Mike Brown and Burrow himself acknowledged the challenges that such a deal creates for roster construction (via Ben Baby of Of course, the Bengals will have to operate within the same salary cap confines as every other team in the league, but as Rapoport observes, the small-market franchise does have more cash on hand these days thanks in large part to the success that the team has enjoyed with Burrow under center.
  • In a comprehensive piece that is well-worth a read for Colts fans, a piece that details owner Jim Irsay‘s increasingly impulsive decision-making and the ensuing fallout, Zak Keefer of The Athletic (subscription required) says that Irsay wanted to draft and develop a rookie QB in the 2021 draft. However, then-head coach Frank Reich convinced Irsay that he could resuscitate Carson Wentz‘s career. When that experiment went awry, Irsay began to lose faith in Reich, who apologized to his boss for his misstep. The team again opted for an established passer last offseason when it engineered the Matt Ryan trade, and in light of that failure, Adam Jahns of The Athletic (subscription required) believes Indianapolis is finally going to eschew the veteran QB route. The Colts, armed with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 draft, are in prime position to select a top collegiate signal-caller and could trade up to land the player of their choice.
  • Dolphins GM Chris Grier recently confirmed reports that Tua Tagovailoa will be the team’s starting quarterback in 2023, as Daniel Oyefusi of the Miami Herald writes. Grier says the medical professionals he has consulted have told him that the concussions Tagovailoa suffered this season will not make him more prone to concussions going forward. He also said “everything’s on the table for us” when asked if the team would exercise Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option for 2024 and/or engage in extension talks.
  • The Jets may keep 2021 first-rounder Zach Wilson on the roster in 2023, but the team is widely expected to pursue a veteran like Carr or Rodgers to upgrade the quarterback position. Apparently, that will be a welcome development for some of Wilson’s teammates and coaches, who “rejoiced” when Wilson was benched in favor of Mike White in November and who were disappointed when Wilson was reinserted into the lineup following White’s rib injuries (via Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic (subscription required)). Regardless of whether Wilson’s apologies to his teammates in the wake of his failure to accept much blame for his poor performance in New York’s Week 11 loss to the Patriots helped him regain the respect of the locker room, the consensus seems to be that he is not the passer who will guide the Jets back to the playoffs.

Saints Seeking Two First-Round Picks For Sean Payton?

In the aftermath of the “Tuck Rule” game 21 years ago, the Buccaneers sent the Raiders a monster haul for Jon Gruden. Oakland collected two first-round picks, two second-rounders and $8MM in cash from Tampa Bay. Although the Bucs went on to win Super Bowl XXXVII a year later, their draft capital took a major hit when they replaced Tony Dungy with Gruden.

This trade has become relevant again, with Sean Payton on the market and Saints GM Mickey Loomis discussing his trade price with teams. While Payton said Loomis would likely ask for a mid- to late-first-round pick for his rights this year,’s Jeff Duncan points to the Raiders-Bucs trade. Loomis has told teams he wants a Gruden-esque package for Payton’s rights, with Duncan noting two first-round picks will be the starting point.

Should a team offer two first-rounders in future drafts, Duncan adds the Saints will want “higher mid-round picks” in the 2023 draft as part of the package as well. If the ante will be upped to this point, the HC-needy teams keen on hiring Payton will have more to consider. Though, the Broncos and Saints were reported to have agreed on compensation that includes a first-rounder and change already.

From the Saints’ perspective, such a haul would make sense. Four of the five HC-seeking teams have been connected to Payton, and he will have interviewed with three of them — the Texans, Broncos and Panthers — by week’s end. Payton is also expected to command a top-market coaching salary, as he has obvious leverage via the expanding market for his services and the option of staying at FOX for another year. Payton is seeking a four-year deal worth $20-$25MM per year, per Duncan. Judging by reports of the Broncos being set for an “ultra-aggressive” HC push and Panthers owner David Tepper being willing to give Payton “just about anything he wants,” the salary component here will be the lesser issue for teams.

The Broncos having just traded two first-round picks and two seconds for Russell Wilson certainly complicates their interest in meeting this asking price, though they did acquire a 2023 first-rounder in the Bradley Chubb trade. The Texans would be in better position to meet it, considering the Deshaun Watson swap armed them with three first-rounders. Houston holds two first-round picks and two seconds in the upcoming draft, but sending much of the Watson haul for a coach also would complicate the rebuilding team’s ability to stock its roster.

Payton said recently the Saints’ compensation would change “considerably” if this process is tabled to 2024, when just one season would remain on his contract. Loomis, however, has told Saints staffers he is comfortable waiting a year to trade Payton’s rights, according to Duncan. Teams in the Payton sweepstakes could attempt to test Loomis’ desire here, considering the Saints sent their 2023 first-rounder to the Eagles just before last year’s draft. But the Texans, Panthers and Broncos have fallen on hard times recently. The Saints’ potential push for a huge haul would attempt to capitalize on that while giving themselves a package that would help their now-Dennis Allenled operation, which did not start especially well in 2022.

It’s complicated because I have such great respect for him,” Loomis said of Payton last week. “He’s a close friend of mine. He’s a great coach. I want the best for him. I do. We do, collectively as an organization. But I also recognize that … his contract is a valuable asset to our club, and it’s our duty to maximize that.”

The Gruden ask is on the high end of the spectrum in terms of modern swaps for coaches. Bill Parcells cost the Jets first-, second-, third- and fourth-round picks in 1997; the Patriots received a package headlined by first- and fourth-rounders for Bill Belichick in 2000. Mike Holmgren cost the Seahawks a second-rounder in 1999; Herm Edwards cost the Chiefs a fourth in 2006.

Payton, 59, is believed to be 50-50 on coaching in 2023, potentially waiting out other jobs that might be available next year. That was believed to be Payton’s plan before this round of interviews started, but Duncan adds the Texans and Broncos meetings are believed to have gone well. The 16-year Saints HC was particularly impressed with Denver’s ownership group, though he is also intrigued by Houston’s draft capital and cap space. The Texans’ projected $40MM is projected to be among the top five entering the offseason.

Payton’s comfort level with the Broncos’ new ownership has been reported on multiple occasions, and the Rob Walton-fronted contingent would be able to pay top dollar in terms of salary. But the Broncos’ ability to build a team around Wilson would be greatly impacted by a two-first-rounder package. Dan Quinn has been mentioned as leading Denver’s non-Payton contingent; the Cowboys DC interviews with the Broncos on Friday.