Sean Payton

Latest On Sean Payton-Chargers Fit; Cardinals On Radar?

Sean Payton left his 16-year Saints HC job for a FOX analyst gig, but the Super Bowl-winning head coach has said on multiple occasions he expects to return to the sideline. This prospective return is being monitored closely around the league.

Payton continues to be linked to the Chargers. While some key hurdles remain in the path of such a partnership, league buzz is not cooling down here. Some around the league believe Payton will wait out this job, per’s Jeremy Fowler, who calls the Payton-Bolts connection a rather poorly kept secret.

The Chargers first emerged as a Payton destination over the summer, when a report indicated the team’s combination of a quality roster — highlighted by quarterback Justin Herbert — and warm-weather locale was expected to generate interest from the veteran coach. Last month, a report indicated the Bolts gig would be the job Payton would covet the most. The Cowboys and Dolphins were also mentioned in July, but the former has seen its Mike McCarthy hire produce a contending team and the latter path is effectively walled off after the tampering penalty that came about this offseason.

Of course, the Chargers would need to create a head-coaching opening and send the Saints compensation for Payton. No coach has been traded since the Chiefs acquired Herm Edwards‘ rights in 2006. That haul only produced a fourth-round pick. Other HC trades — including the likes of Jon Gruden, Bill Parcells and Don Shula — have involved at least one first-round pick. It is unclear what it would cost for a team to poach Payton, but the Bolts also would need to can Brandon Staley to open the door to a Payton-Herbert partnership.

Staley is 14-13 as Chargers HC. The Bolts managed the rare feat of rostering the Pro Bowl starting quarterback and missing the playoffs — something that had not occurred in the AFC since the 1989 Bengals — last season, with Staley’s largely the culprit. More injuries have hit this season, with a handful of Bolts Pro Bowlers — Joey Bosa and Rashawn Slater chief among them — suffering major maladies that have impacted the team’s play. Still, after a season in which the Chargers ranked 29th in points allowed, they enter Week 12 in that 29th spot.

If the shorthanded Chargers rally and reach the postseason in Staley’s second year, it would be more difficult for the franchise to justify a coaching change. The prospect of a Payton trade clouds this situation, however. Payton, 58, has said it will take a lot to lure him out of the studio and added he will rule out certain organizations. Based on everything that has come out, the Chargers almost certainly are not one of the franchises Payton would deem unacceptable. Until it is confirmed Staley will return for a third season, the potential Payton addition stands to remain a storyline.

While acknowledging many are connecting Payton to the Chargers, ESPN’s Dan Graziano adds the Cardinals are a team to watch here. His through-2027 extension notwithstanding, Kliff Kingsbury can be classified as a hot-seat occupant. The Chargers would probably be preferable to the Saints compared to Payton landing with an NFC team, but Kyler Murray would also be a draw for offensive coaches — albeit not on the Herbert level. This marks the first Payton-Cardinals connection, however.

Latest On Sean Payton’s NFL Return

In the wake of the NFL’s second midseason coach firing taking place yesterday, the most highly-rated name not currently on the sidelines has come up again. Sean Payton remains the subject of speculation regarding his return to coaching, but the 58-year-old is remaining patient in weighing his options.

As detailed by Jeff Howe of The Athletic (subscription required), Payton has taken a liking to his new routine after stepping away from the Saints this offseason. That move led him to work as a Fox analyst this year, but, as confirmed in the interview with Howe, Payton is open to the idea of working as a head coach on an NFL sideline once again.

When speaking about his plans on that front, though, Payton said, “There’s no timeline or any of that. I’m sure at some point that’s going to happen.” The former Super Bowl winner is still under contract with the Saints, who would be in line for draft compensation from whichever team Payton chooses to join. On that point, he added, he will remain very deliberate and methodical in avoiding rebuilding situations.

“It would be the comfort level with ownership and the front office, with the leadership structure, with likeminded thinking,” Payton said of the circumstances describing his preferred destination. “Are more of those opportunities out there? I don’t think many. I think there are a lot of dysfunctional teams in our league. There are some places where talent can die. I just want to avoid those places.”

Last month, Payton’s name was attached to the Chargers, a team with high expectations and a first-time head coach in Brandon Staley who has put up middling results so far. Los Angeles could represent an intriguing destination for Payton based on his previously reported priorities relating to warm weather, a young core and authority on personnel decisions.

Casting further doubt on the notion that he will be back to coaching next spring, Payton added, “quite honestly, that next best job has to beat out the job I have now, which is pretty good.” Where that job will be, and when it becomes available, will remain worth watching into the offseason as the list of vacancies will likely increase.

AFC West Rumors: Payton, Munchak, Nagy

With a young, top-flight QB in Justin Herbert and a talented roster surrounding him, the Chargers would appeal to almost any head coaching candidate. The team has once again dealt with major injury problems this year, but the decision-making of second-year HC Brandon Staley and the defense’s poor performance under Staley, a former defensive coach and coordinator, has led some to question his job security.

While it would be highly surprising to see Staley dismissed in-season — after all, as of the time of this writing, the club is 3-2 — Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post suggests that the Bolts could be willing to move on if the 2022 season does not “provide an acceptable outcome” (for a team like Los Angeles, an acceptable outcome presumably means at least a postseason berth). If Staley is indeed ousted, one longtime NFL personnel exec who has worked with former Saints head coach Sean Payton says the Chargers job is the one that Payton really wants.

Payton, 58, surprisingly stepped away from the Saints in January after having served as New Orleans’ head coach since 2006. He has left the door open for a return to the sidelines, and in July, it was reported that the Chargers would be one of his preferred teams, along with the Dolphins and Cowboys. Payton is said to be looking for a club that plays its home games in a warm weather city and that boasts a strong QB situation and roster, and the Chargers check all of those boxes. Plus, since the team is in the AFC, the Saints — who still hold Payton’s rights — may be willing to trade their Super Bowl-winning coach to LA.

However, Payton is also seeking control over personnel decisions, and Chargers GM Tom Telesco has been with the club since 2013. It would be interesting to see if team ownership would ask Telesco to cede at least some of his authority if a Payton acquisition becomes a possibility, and if Telesco would be willing to do so.

Now for more from the AFC West:

  • The surprising performance of rookie Jamaree Salyer means that the Chargers have a viable solution at LT in the absence of Rashawn Slater, as Daniel Popper of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Originally drafted as a guard, Salyer was appointed as Herbert’s blindside protector in Week 4 after Slater was placed on IR, and he played quite well in the team’s victory over the Texans. Then, in a Week 5 win over the Browns, Salyer held his own against Cleveland’s Myles Garrett, so Los Angeles should not have to make a move for a left tackle while it waits for Slater to return (which could happen at the end of the season).
  • Speaking of left tackles, Broncos LT Garett Bolles went under the knife on Wednesday to repair his broken right fibula, per Mike Klis of Bolles suffered the injury during Denver’s Week 5 loss to the Colts, and he will miss the remainder of the season. As Klis notes, Bolles’ $2MM injury guarantee for 2023 will be triggered, but given that the 2017 first-rounder is due to earn $14MM in salary in 2023 — a modest sum for a top left tackle — that presumably won’t matter too much.
  • Broncos rookie HC Nathaniel Hackett is under plenty of heat at the moment, and there are rumors that he may not even make it through his first season as a head coach. In light of his early difficulties, pundits are revisiting Hackett’s construction of his coaching staff, which included the decision to part ways with Denver’s former O-line coach, Mike Munchak, and replace him with Butch Barry (who had never worked as a lead OL coach in the NFL). Hackett made the move for schematic reasons, but as Peter King wrote in his weekly FMIA column on Monday, Munchak wanted to stay in Denver, and in addition to his reputation as one of the game’s best OL coaches, he is also a respected leader who has HC experience of his own. In hindsight, retaining a veteran influence like Munchak might have been the better decision.
  • The Bears relieved Matt Nagy of his head coaching duties at the end of the 2021 season, and he subsequently rejoined the Chiefs as quarterbacks coach/senior offensive assistant. Nagy put himself on the HC radar as the QBs coach and offensive coordinator for Kansas City from 2013-17, and he also worked under Chiefs head coach Andy Reid when both men where with the Eagles. It’s clear that Reid thinks highly of Nagy’s abilities, and a league source tells Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network that Nagy could eventually succeed his mentor as head coach of the Chiefs. Reid, 64, is under contract through 2025, and though he has said he is open to coaching into his 70s, it is feasible that he could end his Hall of Fame career before then. By the end of Reid’s current contract, Nagy will have had time to distance himself from the disappointing end to his Chicago tenure, and he may even find himself back as Kansas City’s OC if Eric Bieniemy ever lands his own head coaching post.
  • Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay Jr. is set to serve the final game of his four-game suspension on Sunday, and as Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports writes, the league initially pushed for the maximum six-game ban. The union advocated a two-game suspension, and the two sides met in the middle at four games before the matter reached the jointly-appointed disciplinary officer, Judge Sue L. Robinson. Gay missed time due to injury in 2021 but finished the season as a top-25 ‘backer in the eyes of Pro Football Focus, and his return should provide a boost to KC’s defense.

Latest On Panthers Coaching Staff

The Panthers organization will have an important decision to make when it comes to replacing Matt Rhule, but the team is more than happy with their current arrangement. Steve Wilks took on the role of interim HC, and Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post writes that this was always the team’s plan if things didn’t work out with their now-former head coach.

[RELATED: Panthers Fire Matt Rhule; Steve Wilks Named Interim HC]

The Panthers convinced Wilks to step away from his defensive coordinator gig at Missouri to be their defensive passing game coordinator/secondary coach. The team made this hiring as a contingency in case they had to move on from Rhule; Wilks was still highly regarded within the organization thanks to his previous stint with the Panthers, and ownership was more than happy to hand him the reigns. Per La Canfora, Wilks will get a legitimate chance to keep the head coaching gig beyond this season.

While Panthers owner David Tepper is more than willing to make a big splash on the sideline, sources tell La Canfora that Sean Payton is not a realistic target. Those sources don’t believe Payton would mesh with Tepper, and the organization’s lack of draft picks and a foundational QB means a quick rebuild is unlikely. Plus, one GM told La Canfora that the Saints would prefer to trade Payton to an AFC squad, and it’s especially unlikely they trade him within the division.

Elsewhere on the coaching staff, Al Holcomb will take over as the defensive play caller. The 51-year-old coach was originally hired as Carolina’s defensive run game coordinator. He’ll replace defensive coordinator Phil Snow, who was fired alongside Rhule. Wilks told Joseph Person of The Athletic that it was his decision to move on from Snow, and Person later wrote that the interim HC had some “philosophical differences” with the DC.

“It was my call and my decision,” Wilks said. “I just felt like I wanted a different approach moving forward … The schemes aren’t gonna change much,” he added. “But I think you have to be creative in the process of what you’re doing. And everything is predicated on who we’re playing.”

Panthers’ Post-Rhule Fallout: Termination, Replacement, Trades

The NFL news circuit was set ablaze today when news broke of the firings of Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow. The termination of Rhule was not necessarily a surprise, as he’s been firmly on the hot seat all year and the possibility of firing Rhule had been discussed “well before” today, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, but it did create a newsworthy fallout of information that is of interest to those who follow the sport.

Many have talked about the contract implications of Rhule’s termination, alluding to the millions of dollars still remaining on his contract. While it’s completely applicable to Rhule’s situation, it doesn’t sound like it is a concern to Carolina. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweeted out that “Carolina is on the hook for this season, but the salaries for the ensuing seasons are offset by what his future college job pays him.” Essentially, Rhule will absolutely get his guaranteed money, but the onus won’t be on Carolina to pay it. Whenever Rhule, who is presumed to be a top college coaching candidate for next year, gets another job, his salary from the new school will offset the amount the Panthers owe him.

It was also announced that Panthers defensive passing game coordinator & secondary coach Steve Wilks will sub in as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The defensive-minded former head coach of the Cardinals has apparently already begun to make the team his own. When Panthers owner David Tepper was asked why Snow was fired, he reportedly pointed the finger at Wilks, telling reporters to direct that question to the interim head coach, according to ESPN’s David Newton.

Here are a few more fallout items from today, starting with some ideas on Rhule’s replacement:

  • The biggest nugget to come out of today concerning Carolina is that, as most NFL executives expected Rhule to lose his job, many in league circles are expecting the Panthers to start dealing veteran assets in an attempt to accrue draft capital that might make the head coaching position more attractive, according to Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post. The Panthers currently only hold four draft picks for 2023: first-, second-, fourth-, and fifth-round picks, supporting the idea that trading away veterans could improve their current situation. Trading away veterans with expensive contracts, such as star running back Christian McCaffrey or wide receiver Robbie Anderson, could prove troublesome, according to La Canfora, so the Panthers are reportedly willing to eat some of those salaries in order to facilitate moving those assets. Early reports claimed that the Bills have reached out about McCaffrey and that they did in the offseason, as well, according to Person, but Tom Pelissero of NFL Network clarified that, while every team will be calling about McCaffrey, the Panthers haven’t engaged in any trade talks yet. In addition to McCaffrey and Anderson, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports expects wide receiver D.J. Moore, defensive end Brian Burns, and defensive tackle Derrick Brown to be on the table.
  • Jeff Howe of The Athletic posed the question today of who might replace Rhule and offered quite a few suggestions. Howe started the list with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn who took the Falcons to the Super Bowl as head coach in 2016. Next, he mentioned 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Ryans interviewed for the Vikings’ job this offseason and was expected to interview for the Raiders’, as well. The 38-year-old has rocketed up coaching boards since retiring as a player in 2015. Another name mentioned was Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon who also interviewed for the Vikings last year, in addition to the Texans and Broncos. Howe went into great detail on every candidate, seeming to list anybody who may be up for a head coaching job in the next few seasons. His list included former NFL head coaches including the retired Sean Payton, Steelers senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach Brian Flores, Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, and former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, as well as the current interim head coach, Wilks. Other serious candidates Howe mentioned were Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, and Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. The list essentially devolved into an article about anybody who may make the jump to NFL head coach in the next few seasons, pointing out “wait and see” candidates such as Rams offensive coordinator Liam Coen, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell, and Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.
  • One interesting name that came out of today’s rumors was former Panthers All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly. Joe Person of The Athletic advised that an eye be kept on Kuechly, who remains close with Wilks and new defensive coordinator Al Holcomb, to come back in some capacity. After retiring from a pro scout position last year, Kuechly has been working as an analyst on Panthers radio broadcasts.

Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross Suspended; Team Docked Draft Picks For Tampering

The tampering allegations faced by the Dolphins have led to serious consequences for the organization. Owner Stephen Ross has been suspended for the beginning of the 2022 season, and the team has been docked two draft picks (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero). ESPN’s Jeff Darlington notes that the decision is final, and there is no appeals process (Twitter link).

Ross will be suspended through October 17 of this year. He is also banned from all league committees and is not allowed to attend league meetings until March 2023. In addition, he has been fined $1.5MM. The draft picks the team is forfeiting are a first-round selection in 2023, as well as a third-rounder in 2024. Dolphins vice chairman Bruce Beal, who is also a TB12 board member (per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times), has also been suspended and fined $500K.

The full findings of the league’s investigations into the team’s attempts to acquire quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Sean Payton include “tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity,” per commissioner Roger Goodell. The league has found that the Dolphins engaged in “impermissible communications” with Brady dating back to 2019-20, when he was with the Patriots (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Schefter).

Miami likewise held illegal talks with Brady while he was a member of the Buccaneers, pertaining to a potential ownership stake, Schefter adds. As for Payton, the league has found that the Dolphins’ initial talks with him took place before before his decision to step away from the Saints in January, and that permission was still not granted by the Saints after that decision (Twitter links).

With regards to tampering, I strongly disagree with the conclusions and the punishment,” Ross said in a statement. “However, I will accept the outcome because the most important thing is that there be no distractions for our team as we begin an exciting and winning season. I will not allow anything to get in the way of that.”

Reports surfaced early in the offseason of repeated attempts by Ross to bring Brady (who has a well-known personal relationship with Ross and Beal) to Miami as the team’s quarterback and/or minority owner. The move was expected to represent a package deal with Payton, but fell through in the wake of Brian Flores’ racial discrimination lawsuit against, among others, the team. Much of the story was first detailed by PFT’s Mike Florio, but was later corroborated by a number of outlets; today’s new confirms what many had already suspected based on that reporting.

The punishment handed down to Ross, Beal and the organization is meant to “deter future violations and safeguard the integrity of the game,” per the league’s ruling. While it remains to be seen if it will have the intended effect in future cases of the sort, the Dolphins certainly face a steep price for their actions.

Sean Payton Expects To Coach Again

A recent report connected Sean Payton to resurfacing in the NFL next season, tying the former Saints coach to the Cowboys, Chargers and Dolphins. Connections to Dallas and Miami have persisted, though Los Angeles represents new territory here. Any team that hires Payton would need to compensate the Saints, who have the Super Bowl-winning HC under contract through 2024.

But Payton rumors are unlikely to die down anytime soon. The 16-year New Orleans coach is set to work for FOX this year, but he continues to view a return to the sidelines as likely.

Ultimately, do I think I’ll get back in? Sure,” Payton said, via Jarrett Bell of USA Today. “There’s no way to predict who that club might be. Usually, there are about six openings every year. If there’s a right fit somewhere, that ultimately will depend on several factors. … We’ll deal with it when the time comes.”

Payton, 58, does not plan to push for an already-filled position. Though, his prospective interest in certain jobs would open the door to teams making offseason maneuvers next year. The Cowboys, who employed Payton as their quarterbacks coach from 2003-05, have been connected to a Payton trade off and on for many years. With Mike McCarthy not exactly secure beyond this season, Payton rumors are unlikely to cease. For what it’s worth, Jerry Jones attempted to distance the Cowboys from the unavoidable Payton buzz by reaffirming his commitment to McCarthy last month.

The Payton-Tom Brady-Miami connection endured this offseason as well, and Payton is believed to have been flattered by the AFC East team’s pursuit — one that may or may not have been close to crossing the finish line. The team having just hired Mike McDaniel complicates a Payton-to-Miami push next year, though one-and-done HCs are obviously not unprecedented.

Brandon Staley underachievement with what looks like a strong Chargers roster this season would be something to monitor, given the new Payton connection. And, even though Payton is not believed to have quarterback play as a prerequisite for a landing spot, Justin Herbert could certainly sway matters — if that job becomes available. Given the roster Staley now has, it would be hard to imagine the former Rams defensive coordinator being booted after two years. But stranger NFL coaching storylines have certainly emerged.

Payton is set to work on both FOX Sunday pregame shows, per Bell. This path has kept Bill Cowher from making a long-rumored return, but Jon Gruden eventually came back to the sideline. Cowher and Gruden were much younger than Payton when they initially stepped away. Dick Vermeil, who spent 14 years in broadcasting between his Eagles and Rams gigs, was 60 when he returned to coaching in 1997. Payton’s comments in January and this week would point to a shorter hiatus.

Latest On Former Saints HC Sean Payton

Sean Payton was linked to a number of a head coaching gigs this offseason, but it sounds like the former Saints HC was legitimately looking to take a break in 2022. There’s still a chance he’ll be ready to return to the sideline for the 2023 campaign, and if that’s the case, the long-time coach would have a few preferred destinations.

[RELATED: Sean Payton To Be Fox Analyst In 2022]

A source told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that the Dolphins, Cowboys, and Chargers would interest Payton if the jobs became available. Of course, the source was also adamant that Payton “would never lobby for a filled job” and would only have interest if those organizations move on from their current coaches. Further, the source indicated that Payton valued “warm weather, a roster good enough to compete and most importantly, control over personnel decisions” at a new stop, and while a good QB would be helpful, that’d be secondary to his other priorities.

If you’ve been following the Payton rumblings throughout the offseason, you’re certainly not surprised about the Miami connection. There was a reported deal in place with the Dolphins that would have seen him join Miami alongside Tom Brady if not for Brian Flores‘ racial discrimination lawsuit. As Jackson writes, Payton was “flattered” by the Dolphins interest, but he truly intends to take time away from coaching in 2022. Further, while a previous source indicated that the Dolphins offered Payton a five-year, $100MM contract, Jackson notes that the Dolphins never had the opportunity to offer the contract since they were never granted permission by the Saints to speak to the coach.

Of course, the Dolphins ended up pivoting to Mike McDaniel, and the organization is hoping they won’t even have to think about a Payton pursuit next year. There’s also the status of general manager Chris Grier, but Jackson opines that the executive wouldn’t have an issue with deferring to Payton.

Payton has also previously been connected to Dallas, where he spent three seasons as the QBs coach before landing the HC gig with the Saints in 2006. Mike McCarthy has had a roller coaster two years in Dallas; after a 6-10 campaign in 2020, the former Packers HC led the team to an NFC East title last season. Unfortunately, that brief success was overshadowed by an underwhelming playoff loss, leading some to speculate that McCarthy could be on the hot seat. Jerry Jones made it clear that he’s committed to McCarthy, but things could obviously change if Dallas underwhelms in 2022.

The Chargers are an interesting inclusion on Payton’s list. The organization gave Anthony Lynn four seasons before replacing him with Brandon Staley, and there’s a good chance that the replacement will have just as long of a leash as his predecessor. Staley would surely get more than two seasons to guide the Chargers back to the postseason, but things could have obviously change if the organization has a chance to lure a coach with Payton’s resume.

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.