Sean Payton

Jerry Jones Reaffirms Commitment To Mike McCarthy

Ever since his decision to step away from coaching the Saints, Sean Payton has been connected to a number of positions around the league. Among those is a reunion with the Cowboys, but owner Jerry Jones is once again backing the team’s incumbent HC. 

Payton spent three season as Dallas’ QBs coach before being hired by the Saints in 2006. His tenure in New Orleans included the franchise’s lone Super Bowl title, but it came to an end this January. He won’t coach in 2022, instead trying his hand at broadcasting. The 58-year-old has still be linked to other, future, coaching roles during the offseason, however.

Chief among those is the reported deal in place with the Dolphins which would have seen him join Miami alongside Tom Brady if not for Brian Flores‘ racial discrimination lawsuit. More generally, his name has been used in discussions of Mike McCarthy‘s future with the Cowboys.

After a 6-10 campaign in 2020, the former Packers HC led the team to an NFC East title last season. That success was overshadowed by an underwhelming playoff loss, however, leading some to speculate that McCarthy could be on the way out. In the aftermath of their elimination, though, Jones made clear his support of the former Super Bowl winner. Jones reacted similarly when the idea of bringing Payton back came up again.

“Sean Payton shouldn’t be out there” he said, via Clarence E. Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram“For him, the Cowboys, that’s just sheer out of the air. It’s well known we’re good friends and we think a lot of him as a head coach. But in this case… he shouldn’t be a conversation piece.”

While Jones added that “it’s also an eternity between right now and next year,” his commitment to McCarthy for 2022 is obvious. The Cowboys have a number of new faces – particularly along the offensive line and in the receiving corps – to work with for the upcoming campaign, one in which expectations will once again be high for the team. McCarthy’s performance will no doubt affect the future of his tenure, but for now it is safe.

Sean Payton To Be Fox Analyst In 2022

Linked as a potential Tom Brady coworker earlier this year, Sean Payton will follow the Buccaneers quarterback to Fox. Though, the two NFL mainstays’ timelines might not overlap at the network.

The 16-year Saints coach agreed to a deal to become a Fox analyst, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who adds Payton was in talks with Amazon as well. Payton indicated a desire to explore broadcasting. For now, that will be the Super Bowl-winning HC’s role.

Brady, of course, signed a 10-year, $375MM deal to be Fox’s lead analyst — whenever his final retirement decision commences. While Brady is ticketed to try his hand in the No. 1 analyst role, Florio notes Payton will work in the studio for Fox. It is conceivable Brady makes his debut for the network this season, depending on the Buccaneers’ performance, but he and Payton might not see their paths cross. Payton, 58, may take the Bill Cowher/Jimmy Johnson route and stay on the broadcasting side for good, but he has consistently been connected to other coaching jobs.

In addition to his perennial Cowboys ties, the ex-Dallas assistant has been linked to the Panthers and Dolphins this offseason. The latter rumor persisted and connected him to Brady, who was to be his quarterback in Miami. The Saints, however, denied the Dolphins permission to speak with Payton, who had recently announced he was leaving his New Orleans gig. During that announcement, Payton said he did not plan to coach in 2022. Just as the Bucs still hold Brady’s rights, the Saints would require compensation for Payton. For now, that is on the back-burner.

Latest On Dolphins’ Pursuit Of Tom Brady, Sean Payton

Two weeks ago, one of our staff writers, Rory Parks, posted a story detailing an update on a bit of a conspiracy being reported by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The reporting from Florio concerned a plan by the Dolphins to acquire quarterback Tom Brady and former-Saints head coach Sean Payton to create one of the most enviable QB-HC tandems in the league. 

The theory dates back to January 2020, when Brady was set to hit free agency and the possibility arose that he may finally leave New England. Florio reported that the Dolphins were generating the most buzz with talk of potentially making Brady a minority owner of the team. Then, this past February, Florio followed it up with a report that the Dolphins, once again, were looking into acquiring the two leaders during the offseason. Florio’s most recent reports on the matter double down on his assertion, claiming that the deal was “very close” to going down before former-Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the team following his dismissal, throwing a wrench into any of Miami’s plans moving forward.

For the most part, it’s been Florio, alone, beating this drum, but, in an episode of STUpodity, the podcast hosted by Dan Le Batard and Jon Weiner, known professionally as Stugotz, released this Friday, NBC Sports’ Chris Simms added some fuel to the fire.

During the podcast, Simms said, “(The Dolphins) were going to trade a second-round pick to Tampa Bay to get Brady. (The Buccaneers) weren’t going to hold him hostage. Sean Payton and the Saints, that was going to be a first-round pick to get that deal done. It was a very real, tangible thing and the Brian Flores lawsuit definitely threw a wrench in it.”

It’s difficult to say how much, if any, of this was legitimately set to happen. In theory it makes sense, but, at the same time, the moves necessary to bring in Brady and Payton certainly would’ve precluded them from being able to make the moves they’ve made since the rumors started, moves that have taken them from 5-11 in 2019 to two consecutive winning seasons in 2020 & 2021. Would they have had the picks to draft young contributors like Tua Tagovailoa, Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, Raekwon Davis, Jaylen Waddle, Jaelan Phillips, Jevon Holland, or Liam Eichenberg? Or the draft capital to acquire star wide receiver Tyreek Hill?

Bringing Payton and Brady in to lead an empty cupboard likely wouldn’t have put them in a favorable position back in 2020. Bringing them in now makes a lot more sense, but is way more difficult to make happen. Still, as long as Payton still wants to coach and Brady still wants to play, these rumors will likely persist into the next few offseasons.

Latest On Dolphins’ Pursuit Of Tom Brady, Sean Payton

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk continues to beat the Tom Brady-to-Miami drum. In January 2020, just weeks before Brady was set to hit free agency and perhaps join an organization other than the Patriots for the first time in his two-decade career, Florio wrote that the Dolphins were the team that was generating the most buzz with respect to a Brady signing. Even then, the PFT creator reported that there was talk of Brady also becoming a minority owner of the ‘Fins.

In February 2022, Florio wrote that Miami hoped to hire former Saints head coach Sean Payton as its new HC this year, and that the club also planned to go after Brady and install him as the starting quarterback. Then, Brian Flores, who was fired as the Dolphins’ head coach in January, filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the team, also naming the Giants and Broncos as defendants. According to Florio, the suit forced the Dolphins to scrap the Payton/Brady plan, and Brady announced his retirement on the same day the suit was filed.

Several days ago, Florio reported that Brady was indeed “very close” to joining the Dolphins, and that he would have first done so as a minority owner (other reporters have echoed the sentiment that Brady may want to own a part of the franchise). At that point, the Dolphins would have acquired Payton’s rights from the Saints and Brady’s rights from the Buccaneers and would have had the enviable HC-QB tandem they were seeking all along. Of course, it may not have been so simple; Florio acknowledged in his February 2022 piece that New Orleans declined Miami’s request to talk to Payton, even after Payton elected to step away from the Saints. Dolphins GM Chris Grier confirmed as much, and Payton himself said he would probably not have been interested in the Miami gig.

If Florio is accurate, however, this could all resurface in 2023. When discussing the ownership component of these rumors, Florio continues to emphasize Brady’s close relationship with Bruce Beal, who is Dolphins owner Stephen Ross‘ right-hand man. As far as Brady the player is concerned, it’s worth noting that one of Flores’ allegations in his suit is that Ross wanted Flores to recruit a “prominent quarterback” — generally believed to be Brady — at the end of the 2019 season, which would have contravened the league’s tampering rules.

So, if Brady wants to continue his playing career next year but wants to leave the Bucs — Florio remains adamant that Brady’s “retirement” was simply an attempt to leave Tampa and that he only circled back to the team after it became clear he would not be able to join the Dolphins or 49ers — then perhaps Ross will throw his hat in the ring again, depending on how Tua Tagovailoa performs in 2022. And, regardless of whether Brady ever plays his home games in South Beach, it at least seems like a strong possibility that he could one day own a piece of the Dolphins.

With Mike McDaniel having just been hired as Miami’s HC, it is perhaps less likely that Ross & Co. will seek to woo Payton next year, but given Ross’ history of seeking high-profile candidates for his head coaching post, such a pursuit probably should not be ruled out.

Dolphins GM Talks Watson, Payton/Brady Rumors, Howard

THURSDAY: Set to pursue a media gig, Payton indicated to veteran NFL reporter Jason Cole (via Twitter) he would “probably not” have been interested in this Dolphins setup had he been given the chance to speak with the team. Once Payton lands with a network, the subject of his next coaching stop figures to come up fairly frequently.

WEDNESDAY: It’s already been a busy offseason for the Dolphins. The team hired a new head coach in Mike McDaniel, dealt with the fallout of former HC Brian Flores‘ lawsuit, and brushed off continued rumors regarding their quarterback position.

While speaking with reporters today, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier addressed many of the major story lines surrounding the organization. Most notably, the GM acknowledged that “the door is shut” on acquiring Deshaun Watson from the Texans. The organization has been continually connected to Watson over the past year, but the team’s decision makers seem focused on moving forward with Tua Tagovailoa.

Grier also addressed a recent report that indicated the organization pursued Sean Payton as their head coach and Tom Brady as their starting quarterback. While the GM discussed the team’s brief pursuit of the coach (which we detail below), he said the Dolphins “never had a conversation” with the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

The Dolphins general manager provided a handful of additional thoughts on the state of the Dolphins, which we’ve compiled below (h/t to Cameron Wolfe of NFL.com):

More on the Dolphins’ commitment to Tagovailoa as their starting quarterback:

“Mike and the staff have come in to do a lot of work, studied a lot of Tua and they feel good about his developmental upside, what he can be and then the fit in the offense. I think we’re good with Tua.”

On the Dolphins pursuit of Payton:

“[We called the Saints] to see if he is done with football or does he want to coach. … They told us no, they weren’t going to grant permission. So that was it.

“We stopped to see if he would have interest at all. So, I don’t even know if he would have interest.”

On cornerback Xavien Howard, who is seeking a new contract following back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons:

“My anticipation is that Xavien will be here next year. We made the promise to him — after the season, we’ll make the adjustment … just to be truthful with him and do it, that’s the right thing to do.”

On impending free agents Mike Gesicki and Emmanuel Ogbah:

“Mike knows how I feel about him. I drafted him and have had separate conversations with Mike. We’ve had limited talks with his agents.”

“As it got to the end of the season with free agency, both of those guys get to this point, they want to be able to see what their options are. They both told us they want to be back in Miami. They both love it here, they want to be back. We’ll see what happens.”

On Flores’ class-action lawsuit against the NFL and three teams (including the Dolphins):

“(At) some point when it’s done [i can discuss], maybe in the future, but I can’t comment on this right now.

2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, seven NFL teams opted to make a head coaching change. Sean Payton stepping away from the Saints created nine full-time vacancies available this year.

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

Updated 2-7-22 (1:45pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Coaching Rumors: Saints, Texans, McDaniel, Giants, Broncos

The Saints began their cycle of head coaching interviews this week, conducting meetings with the following candidates: former Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson (1/30; hired by Jaguars), former Dolphins’ head coach Brian Flores (2/1), Lions’ defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn (2/2), their current special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi (2/3), their current defensive coordinator Dennis Allen (2/4), and Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy (2/6).

New Orleans also requested permission to interview Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. There were some early reports that permission had been granted, but that hasn’t been confirmed and nothing has been scheduled, as of yet. ESPN’s Saints’ reporter Mike Triplett also mentioned that current offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael was offered an opportunity to interview for the position, but Carmichael declined. Despite being a part of Sean Payton‘s staff since Payton’s tenure in New Orleans began back in 2006, it appears Carmichael has no interest in running the show in the Big Easy. Whether he has retirement or another destination in mind or he is just comfortable in his role, Carmichael will not be the Saints’ next head coach.

Here are a few more notes from the ongoing coaching searches and staff changes throughout the NFL, starting with the other head coaching vacancy:

  • Houston recently narrowed their list of head coaching candidates down to three: Brian Flores, former quarterback Josh McCown, and Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Well, according to USA Today’s Josina Anderson, the Texans are now down to two candidates, with Gannon being informed Saturday that he will not be receiving the head coaching position, leaving Flores and McCown as the two remaining names.
  • New Dolphins’ head coach Mike McDaniel reportedly has interest in holding on to some of the defensive assistants currently under contract in Miami, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. This includes current defensive coordinator Josh Boyer, who followed Flores to Miami from New England. The lack of staff turnover would be a positive for a defensive unit that played well during the team’s seven-game win-streak in the back half of the season.
  • The Giants were able to add a piece to Brian Daboll‘s new staff while missing out on another today. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweeted out that Andy Bischoff will become the Giants’ new tight ends coach. Bischoff followed David Culley from Baltimore to Houston and will make the lateral move over from the Texans with their head coaching position still in the air. Unfortunately, the Giants did not get their running backs coach, as Bruce Feldman of The Athletic tweeted out that Deland McCullough has turned down Daboll’s offer, choosing instead to remain the running backs coach at Notre Dame, believing it gives him the best opportunity to eventually become a head coach.
  • New Broncos’ head coach Nathaniel Hackett is also looking to fill out his staff. The Broncos are planning to interview Jon Embree who most recently held the position of tight ends coach/assistant head coach in San Francisco. Embree parted ways with the Niners after being asked to take a 60 percent pay cut after San Francisco’s NFC Championship loss. The man who has coached George Kittle since he was drafted in 2017 would be a nice addition to Hackett’s system.

Saints Have Stake In Payton’s Future

When Saints’ former head coach Sean Payton retired, he left the door open for a return. Although he made it clear that he has no intention of coaching during the 2022 NFL season, Payton didn’t rule out a return later on. 

“My plans are not to be coaching in 2022,” Payton said. “I still have a vision for doing things in football and, I’ll be honest with you, that might be coaching again at some point.”

Because Payton is under contract with the Saints through the 2024 NFL season, this “mini-retirement” means that whichever team wants to sign him for the 2023 season will have to negotiate with the Saints to do so. Even though Payton told radio personality Dan Patrick that he heard two teams reached out through back channels, those channels never reached Saints’ general manager Mickey Loomis, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. This means that whatever the level of interest those two teams had, it didn’t rise to the point where they were ready to talk compensation.

Mortensen goes on to explain that, should another team reach out to see what it would take to sign Payton, New Orleans has their compensation chart ready on hand. The chart would be based on past similar transactions setting an estimated value through precedent.

The most recent example would be when the Buccaneers pulled Bruce Arians out of his recent retirement from coaching the Cardinals three seasons ago. This is a precedent the Saints’ would stray away from as Arians lack of success in Arizona led to the Cardinals essentially nudging him into retirement. When the deal was made to send Arians to Tampa Bay, the Cardinals received a sixth-round pick and gave the Buccaneers Arians and a seventh-round pick.

Payton is currently considered in much higher demand than Arians was at the time. Mortensen laid out three past transactions that he considers a little more on par with Payton’s current value. The most pricey example was about 20-years ago when the Buccaneers gave the Raiders two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and $8MM cash in exchange for Jon Gruden, who lead his new team to a Super Bowl victory over his old team. The Gruden deal differs a bit from the Arians deal because Gruden wasn’t thinking of retiring and there was really no threat to his job. Raiders’ owner and general manager Al Davis had some questions over Gruden’s value, but there was never talk that his job was in jeopardy.

Another similar deal came back in 1997, when Bill Parcells decided he didn’t want to coach for the Patriots anymore. Parcells’ contract restricted him from coaching anywhere else, so the Jets attempted to circumvent the restriction by hiring a key Parcells’ assistant, Bill Belichick, as their head coach and hiring Parcells as an “advisor.” After the Patriots threatened legal action, the commissioner, Paul Tagliabue, helped the two sides come to an agreement wherein the Patriots would send Parcells to the Jets in exchange for a first-, second-, third-, and fourth-round pick (spread over the following three years). Even though this deal doesn’t include any “mini-retirements,” it follows the current situation a little more closely than the Gruden deal.

Belichick’s return to New England had a very similar ring to his arrival in New York. After the Jets arranged for Belichick to succeed Parcells as head coach, Belichick went to his press conference and, instead of introducing himself as the new head coach, he introduce his resignation from the franchise. The Patriots soon requested permission to interview Belichick to replace Pete Carroll, but the Jets pulled the reverse card and demanded compensation, as Belichick was still under contract. Tagliabue stepped in, once more, and the Patriots sent New York a first-round pick in exchange for the coaching rights of Belichick.

All these examples, despite their different situations, provide a basis for the Saints to use in determining what they think they are due when another team inevitably comes calling. As a Super Bowl champion and long-tenured head coach, Payton is sure to fetch quite a price for whichever team decides to hire him.

Sean Payton Not Planning To Coach In 2022

Sean Payton‘s decision to leave the Saints post he held since 2006 gives the NFL nine HC vacancies. The other eight teams conducting searches can cross Payton off their respective lists, though it appears some of them were interested in the longtime New Orleans leader.

Payton said Tuesday he does not plan to coach during the 2022 season. However, other teams were interested in poaching the Super Bowl-winning coach, Dianna Russini of ESPN.com tweets. Those conversations figure to be relevant in the not-so-distant future. For now, one of modern NFL’s most accomplished coaches is off the market.

I felt like 10 years went by and we talked about the other team for a lot, and I get it; I understand it. But no, my plans are not to be coaching in 2022. And that’s just how I feel,” Payton said. “… I still have a vision for doing things in football and, I’ll be honest with you, that might be coaching again at some point. I don’t think it’s this year. I think maybe in the future, but that’s not where my heart is right now. It’s not at all.”

Payton perhaps taking a sabbatical creates an interesting situation for various teams, particularly those who have been connected to the former Coach of the Year in the past. The Giants and Cowboys are two notable franchises who have been connected to Payton; each team employed Payton during the 2000s. Other teams will certainly be in the mix if the now-unattached coach plans to return to the sideline.

For the time being, Payton following his former quarterback into the television ranks seems likely. While Payton said he has not spoken to any networks yet, those discussions are likely coming. This would be interesting, given other coaches’ TV odysseys this century. Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson did not return to coaching after their respective agreements to join pregame shows. Jon Gruden and Bruce Arians did end up leaving the broadcast booth to come back, the latter doing so after just one season.

I’ve had some opportunities,” Payton said of a TV career. “I talked to Drew [Brees] about it a little bit last night. I don’t know that part of it that well, but that would be something that would interest me.”

Saints’ HC Sean Payton “Stepping Away”

After speculation on his future continued to grow, Saints’ head coach Sean Payton has informed the team that he is “stepping away”, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). The news brings an end to his tenure in New Orleans dating back to 2006.

[Related: Sean Payton Not Certain To Return in 2022]

Rapoport reported earlier in the week that the 58-year-old was weighing his options, and that there was a strong chance he might not be coaching in 2022. Many thought a one-year absence was a possibility, either for Payton to take a year off from coaching altogether, or perhaps to try his hand in broadcasting, as TV networks are apparently interested in him. ESPN’s Dianna Russini reports (via Twitter) that “he is not done coaching football in the future”.

Meanwhile, Nick Underhill of The Athletic has tweeted that Payton has “retired”. That would of course suggest a much greater degree of finality to the decision, as opposed to a temporary break from the spotlight. Payton was back at the Saints’ facility on Monday, the day owner Gayle Benson confirmed that no one in the organization knew his intentions.

Payton has three years remaining on his current contract, but obviously the Saints need to begin looking for a replacement HC. One of the names mentioned as a candidate to take over is defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, who has also received interest from the Bears. New Orleans will certainly have competition for any external options, as there are now nine HC vacancies around the league.

One year after the quarterback who delivered the franchise’s only Super Bowl retired, the coach who was an equally integral part of that championship is now departing New Orleans as well.