Former New Orlean Saints head coach Sean Payton has seemingly turned down two teams that are in need of a new sideline boss.
This year’s NFL coaching carousel will have some high-profile names available, one of them being former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. Last year, Payton stepped away from the NFL, but is now looking to make a return on a new team. At the end of the regular season, there are five teams that have head coach openings — Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, and Arizona Cardinals. So, which teams have the edge?
Nick Underhill of New Orleans Football Network tweeted out on Wednesday that he was “willing to say” that all five of these teams have reached out to Payton and only three have passed through. By passed through, Underhill means passed through the interview phase.
Two NFL teams already out on Sean Payton?
The first team to seek permission to interview Payton were the Denver Broncos, who fired Nathaniel Hackett after 15 games. The NFL told the Broncos they could interview Payton as soon as Jan. 17. Sure enough, ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that the Broncos and Payton are set to meet on Tuesday morning in Los Angeles for an in-person interview
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that both the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals have also received permission to interview Payton for their head coaching vacancies.
The Cardinals were one of the big underperforming teams in 2022, given the talent on the roster. After finishing the season with a 4-13 record, Arizona fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury after four years. General manager Steve Keim stepped down due to look after his health. The Cardinals hold the No. 3 overall-pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Houston, meanwhile, fired Lovie Smith after one year as head coach. This comes one year after they fired David Culley after a season on the job. The Texans hold the second-overall pick after going 3-13-1 on the year, and they will likely use it on one of the top quarterback prospects in the draft class.
While these teams have received permission to interview Payton, they will have to talk with the Saints regarding a trade. If a team and Payton were to agree to terms, they would have to send draft capital to New Orleans, considering the head coach is still under contract until after the 2024 season.
That in mind, it sounds like the Panthers and Colts are out. Carolina, in the same division as the Saints, would have been hard to figure out a deal that both parties liked.
Payton is the biggest name in this year’s coaching carousel. Now, the NFL world waits to see if he takes one of the head coach openings, or if he decides to wait on another opportunity.