Sean Payton

Cowboys Deny Reaching Out To Sean Payton

The Cowboys have long been connected to Saints head coach Sean Payton and those rumblings have picked up once again this season, along with speculation about Jason Garrett‘s job security. A recent report indicated that the Cowboys expressed interest in Payton through backchannels last offseason, but VP Stephen Jones flatly denied that in an interview on Monday. 

That’s just untrue,” Jones said. “Obviously we don’t comment on rumors like that. Obviously our focus right now is beating the Eagles. Certainly, everyone knows what we think of Jason. I do think we’ve been criticized to a fault for what we do think of him. He just did a great job getting this team back on track yesterday and we’re focused on beating the Eagles.”

The Cowboys kept their playoff hopes alive with an emphatic 44-21 win over the Rams, bringing them back to the .500 mark. With a win over the Eagles on Sunday, the Cowboys can clinch the NFC East and punch their ticket to the postseason. A loss, meanwhile, would put them on the ropes and place the Eagles in the driver’s seat – an Eagles win on Sunday coupled with a Week 17 victory over the lowly Giants would allow the bird to fly away with the divisional crown.

Sunday’s game will be critical to the Cowboys’ 2019 season and could dictate the future of Garrett. While the Cowboys sweat things out, Payton’s Saints will march their way into the playoffs behind yet another NFC South title – and, possibly, a first round bye.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Cam, Bucs, Saints

Cam Newton has had surgery to repair a lisfranc injury on his left foot, and the former MVP has been resting in Atlanta after what interim head coach Perry Fewell called “successful surgery” Monday, relays ESPN’s David Newton. Cam would also confirm this himself via his Instagram page on Thursday. There is currently no timeline for his recovery.

Last week, it was reported that Newton would have foot surgery since he was not going to return to the team this year. Now that he has had the procedure done, Newton will be out of action for at least two months, but should certainly be ready to go once the offseason workouts begin.

Despite reports indicating that the Panthers will indeed shop Newton during the offseason, last month, Newton’s quotes made it seem like he wanted to remain with the only organization he has ever known when discussing his future.

“Charlotte is home,” Newton said. “Charlotte is a place I know people know me. They’re not just assuming. They know how I am. They know my energy. They know what I like and what I don’t like. For me to have that type of presence, it just reminds me that … it’s right.”

The former No. 1 overall pick is owed $18.6 million in 2020. He will be a free agent in 2021 barring a contract extension.

Let’s check out some more developments around the NFC South:

  • Despite being a “cut candidate”The Athletic’s Greg Auman opines that he would be very surprised if Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones was not part of their future. The former second-round draft pick has had an up and down season for the Bucs this year, rushing for 518 yards and five touchdowns as of this morning. He also states that running back Dare Ogunbowale is inexpensive and serves multiple roles, and that there is a strong chance he’s back to at least compete for the same jobs, while impending free agent running back to be Peyton Barber could sign elsewhere or come back on a modest deal.
  • ESPN’s Mike Triplett relays that Sean Payton said the Saints expect tight end Jared Cook to play and be ready Monday night when they take on the Colts in New Orleans. Cook returned to a full practice Friday after suffering a concussion last week against the 49ers. Cook has had a nice year for the Saints thus far and has proven to be a reliable receiving option for Drew Brees. On the season, Cook has 34 receptions for 523 yards and six touchdowns, and is known to be very difficult to defend in the end zone due to his massive frame.
  • Saints’ cornerback Marcus Williams was fined for his costly facemask penalty on 49ers tight end George Kittle last week. Williams’ penalty set up Robbie Gould’s 30-yard field goal as time expired in the 49ers’ 48-46 victory over the Saints last week. San Francisco cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon and New Orleans safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson were also fined after being penalized in that game. Witherspoon’s hit on Jared Cook knocked him out of the game with a concussion, and he was penalized for an unnecessary hit to the neck and head area.

 

East Rumors: Rhule, Meyer, Jets

Despite reports connecting the Cowboys to Lincoln Riley and Urban Meyer, team owner Jerry Jones on Saturday downplayed the notion that he would pursue a college coach this offseason. However, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says Jones remains interested in Riley, and he is also paying close attention to Baylor head coach Matt Rhule.

Rhule was a hot name on the NFL head coaching circuit last year and reportedly could have had the Jets’ job if he agreed to certain appointments to his coaching staff. He signed an eight-year extension with Baylor in September, but pro teams are still interested in him. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network shot down recent speculation that the Cowboys would pursue Sean Payton, but he says Dallas made it known through back channels last offseason it was interested in the Saints’ HC, which helped Payton land his extension with New Orleans in September (video link).

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • The Cowboys may not be the only team interested in Meyer. As JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington tweets, Meyer is at FedEx field for the Redskins‘ contest against the Eagles today, and Washington would love to land Meyer as its next HC. Meyer, of course, served as Dwayne Haskins‘ head coach at Ohio State, but it seems like the Redskins don’t really meet Meyer’s criteria for coming out of retirement.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com expects the Jets to overhaul 50% of their roster this offseason, and he unsurprisingly names Brian Winters and Quincy Enunwa as two of the big-name players who could be cut. He also says that, if New York retains Le’Veon Bell, it should bring in another RB with the speed to run outside the tackles.
  • Though the Patriots just cut kicker Josh Gable two days after adding him to the practice squad, head coach Bill Belichick suggested that Gable could be back in 2020 as possible competition for Stephen Gostkowski, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes.
  • In the same piece linked above, Reiss says Patriots D-line coach Bret Bielema, a former collegiate head coach with Wisconsin and Arkansas, is generating interest from college teams. Bielema is said to be open to such an opportunity if the right one presents itself.
  • The NFL’s decision on the Patriots‘ punishment for Spygate 2.0 is expected shortly.

NFC East Notes: Manning, Redskins, Cowboys

Giants QB Eli Manning said back in April that he wants to continue playing in 2020, and as Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com writes, the soon-to-be 39-year-old has not deviated from that stance. Manning, who was benched in favor of rookie Daniel Jones following New York’s Week 2 loss to Buffalo, is slated to start for the Giants on Monday night due to Jones’ ankle injury. And, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, Jones’ injury could force him to miss 2-4 weeks, so Manning could end up finishing out the season for Big Blue.

Manning’s contract with the Giants expires at the end of the year, and he knows he will need to go elsewhere if he wants to continue playing. However, he doesn’t want to just collect a paycheck, he wants to start, and he wants to start for a team that has at least some chance of cracking the postseason. Given that the 2020 QB market could be unusually strong, Manning may have a tough time finding such an opportunity, though his odds of doing so would improve dramatically if he plays well down the stretch.

Now for more from the NFC East:

  • The Redskins will be looking for a new HC this offseason, and Albert Breer of SI.com says several high-profile candidates have told Washington they will not go there if the structure of the organization does not change. It’s unclear exactly what that means, though head of football operations Bruce Allen would definitely scare away some candidates if he remains. Redskins owner Dan Snyder is considering parting ways with Allen, and he may have to do even more to attract the type of big-name coach that he is looking for.
  • The Cowboys have real interest in Urban Meyer as their next head coach, and Jon Machota of The Athletic offers a list of candidates that Dallas should take a look at. Meyer is at the top of the list, and despite the fact that the Saints just gave Sean Payton a healthy extension, Machota expects Jerry Jones to “try anything possible” to bring Payton to Dallas. Machota also names the recently-fired Ron Rivera as a possibility, though Rivera will surely attract plenty of interest from other clubs in need of an HC.
  • Redskins RB Derrius Guice is believed to have suffered an MCL sprain during Sunday’s loss to the Packers, and he may be done for the season.
  • Giants DL Leonard Williams believes he should be paid “top-tier money,” and if he doesn’t get it from New York, he is prepared to test the open market in 2020.

NFC South Notes: Payton, Brees, Quinn

The extension that Saints head coach Sean Payton signed last month is a whopper. Payton was making $9MM per year under his previous contract, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the offensive guru will now be pulling down around $13MM per season. That deal is one of the largest among coaches of North American professional sports, and it obviously will put an end to speculation concerning Payton’s long-term future in the Big Easy.

Now for more from the NFC South, starting with the other face of the Saints:

  • Drew Brees is throwing a football again, as shown on a video that the Saints star posted on Instagram. Brees managed to avoid a trip to the IR, and last week we learned that he is making progress in his recovery from thumb surgery. New Orleans is 2-0 with Brees’ backup, Teddy Bridgewater, at the helm, and the club will try to make that 3-0 against Tampa Bay this afternoon. Previous reports suggested that Brees could return for the club’s November 10 matchup with the Falcons.
  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is on the hot seat, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says an Atlanta loss to the Texans today could expedite Quinn’s ouster. After all, a loss would drop the team to 1-4, and with difficult games against the Rams and Seahawks following the Falcons’ matchup with the Cardinals next week, Atlanta could be looking at a 2-6 record after the first half of the season. Atlanta has three former head coaches on its staff — offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, tight ends coach Mike Mularkey, and receivers coach Raheem Morris — and owner Arthur Blank may be thinking about putting one of them in charge to finish out the season if Quinn can’t right the ship immediately.
  • Greg Auman of The Athletic observes that the Buccaneers could be in line for a third-round compensatory pick to offset the loss of Kwon Alexander in free agency and a fourth-rounder to offset the loss of Adam Humphries. As it currently stands, Tampa Bay signed enough outside free agents to negate those compensatory picks, but given that some of those free agents are underperforming (or barely playing), the Bucs could cut them loose prior to Week 9 to put themselves back on track for the compensatory selections. That means that Deone Bucannon, Breshad Perriman, and Bradley Pinion could all be in danger of being cut.

Saints, Sean Payton Agree To Extension

The Saints and head coach Sean Payton have agreed to a five-year extension, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Prior to the new deal, Payton was in Year Four of a five-year, $45MM deal. 

The financial terms of the new deal are not yet known, but it’s likely that Payton has received a bump over his previous $9MM/year salary. The 55-year-old coach will now be tied to the Saints past the age of 60, lining him up to retire in New Orleans.

In recent years, several teams have made overtures towards Payton, including the Cowboys, where Payton previously cut his teeth. As the Saints’ head coach, Payton has coached his way to a 119-74 overall record, including one Super Bowl ring.

This year, he’s aiming for more jewelry in his 13th season on the sidelines for the Saints.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints, Sean Payton Agree To Five-Year Extension

The Saints and head coach Sean Payton have agreed to a five-year extension, per Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Payton was already under contract through 2020, and it sounds as though his extension will replace the final year of his prior deal. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Payton will now be under club control through 2024 (Twitter link).

Although salaries for coaches are generally not officially disclosed, Payton was already believed to be one of the highest-paid coaches in the game, with multiple sources suggesting he was pulling down an annual income of about $9MM. It could be that his new contract will also increase his compensation.

And for good reason. Payton has compiled a 119-74 regular season record since he was hired in 2006, and though he has had the distinct privilege of working with Drew Brees since that time, he has developed some elite offensive units during his tenure. He is the winningest HC in franchise history, and he coached the Saints to their only Lombardi Trophy in 2009. Like Brees, Payton came to New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, so Saints fans are especially fond of him.

After three straight 7-9 finishes from 2014-16, Payton has righted the ship with back-to-back division titles. Though Saints fans don’t need to be reminded, his club came within a missed PI call of advancing to Super Bowl LIII last season.

The Saints have captured five NFC South titles during Payton’s tenure and have qualified for the playoffs seven times. This extension should also quiet the Payton-to-Dallas rumors that have persisted for some time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sean Payton Downplays Cowboys Rumors

It has been long speculated that the Cowboys will target Saints head coach Sean Payton as a replacement for Jason Garrett. Payton, of course, has heard the chatter, but he’s doing his best to downplay the rumors. 

I’m in my 13th year. I don’t know how to answer it,” Payton said (via Josh Katzenstein of The Times-Picayune). “I feel like it’s every other year; it’s on the odd number years, so 2019 it comes up and then we’ll hear it in 2021…I’ve got fleur-de-lis tattoos that can’t be erased!

Payton is right – the Cowboys speculation will probably continue, unless Garrett manages to guide the Cowboys to a Super Bowl victory in the near future. And, even though 40-year-old quarterback Drew Brees hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, his retirement may not be too far off. When that happens, some believe that Payton will follow him out the door.

Still, Payton didn’t blink when asked if he plans on staying in New Orleans.

That’s clearly the plan,” said Payton.

Last year, the Saints finished out with a 13-3 record for the third time under Payton’s watch. The Saints managed to top the Eagles in their Divisional Round showdown but fell to the Rams in a controversial NFC Championship Game loss.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Saints, Bridgewater, Tannehill

The Saints have been linked to both Teddy Bridgewater and Ryan Tannehill as they search for a backup quarterback, and we have updates on both situations.

Bridgewater is reportedly deciding between deals from both New Orleans and Miami, but he may have concerns about head coach Sean Payton‘s longevity with the Saints. Payton has long been linked to a potential opening with the Cowboys, and Bridgewater may not be interested in re-signing with New Orleans if Payton isn’t going to be around, per Clarence Hill of the Star Telegram (Twitter link).

Meanwhile, Tannehill has been floated as a potential replacement if Bridgewater doesn’t re-sign with the Saints, but that may not be likely. A source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link) there’s “no way” Tannehill lands in New Orleans. New Orleans assistant general manager Jeff Ireland originally drafted Tannehill in Miami.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Payton, Eagles

Take this with a grain of salt, but there’s an ongoing theory that the Cowboys are eyeing Saints coach Sean Payton as the eventual replacement for Jason Garrett, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Of course, there are a number of complications and roadblocks involved in such a plan, including Payton’s contract with New Orleans, which runs through 2020.

Garrett is a lame duck heading into 2019 and the team does not plan to give him an extension between now and the fall. Of course, Garrett’s job has been in jeopardy before and he could easily turn things around with a big season in Dallas.

If the Cowboys are indeed interested in Payton, then this wouldn’t be the first time another team has tried to pry him away. The Colts and Rams reportedly explored the idea in January 2017, but Payton wound up staying put in New Orleans.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • The Eagles may be hoping to “tag and trade” quarterback Nick Foles, but Foles’ representatives should be prepared to fight any attempt to block his path to the open market, Mike Florio of PFT writes. The QB’s camp could communicate that they won’t cooperate with the plan or they could fight it based on the rules of the CBA. Article 4 of the CBA reads: “A Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season.” Tendering Foles strictly to trade him would potentially be in violation of that clause.
  • The Giants are likely going to use Eli Manning as their starting quarterback in 2019, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY opines. The Giants, he writes, are more likely to seek his heir in the draft and potentially explore a negotiation to trim his $23.2MM cap hit.
  • Former Eagles quarterback G.J. Kinne has agreed to become an offensive assistant with the Eagles, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic tweets. Last year Kinne worked an analyst/assistant QB coach at Arkansas. Kinne, a Tulsa product, worked the practice squad circuit up until he was released by the Giants in May of 2016.
  • The Eagles also promoted assistant wide receivers coach Carson Walch to full WRs coach, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. He takes over after the team moved on from Gunter Brewer.