And just like that, there's another NFL head coaching opening and it's a surprising one: Sean Payton has informed the New Orleans Saints that he's stepping away and there already are rumors linking him to the open Chicago Bears job as well as the not-yet-open Dallas Cowboys gig. SportsLine offers odds on whether Payton coaches this season and the favorite is no.
The Bears hired their new general manager Tuesday in 36-year-old Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles. It was believed that the team was down to three head coaching candidates in former Lions and Colts coach Jim Caldwell, current Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and former Falcons coach and current Cowboys DC Dan Quinn, but Payton coming on the market may change things – there would still need to be some sort of trade because Payton is under contract with New Orleans. He went to high school in a suburb of Chicago, played quarterback at Eastern Illinois and was a replacement QB for the Bears during the 1987 players' strike.
According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, the Bears previously talked about trading for Payton but it was ultimately shut down by Payton himself. "Payton didn't want to go there because he had misgivings about ownership and everything else," Breer said on the Dan Patrick Show.
In the last two decades or so, only twice has a franchise traded a head coach: Jon Gruden dealt from the Raiders to the Buccaneers and Bill Belichick traded from the Jets to the Patriots. Both won Super Bowls with their new team.
It's no secret that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones loves Payton and to this day regrets letting him leave for New Orleans. Payton was an assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach in Dallas from 2003-05. Jones has given no indication that he will fire Mike McCarthy, but the opportunity to get Payton could be too enticing.
Payton, 58, leaves the Saints with a regular-season record of 152-89 (tied for fourth-most regular-season wins among active coaches with Pete Carroll) and a postseason mark of 9-8, including one Super Bowl victory and the 2006 AP Coach of the Year award, in 15 seasons. He had three seasons left on his contract.
According to CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora, Payton "is not retiring per se but is taking a break from coaching. As previously reported several networks are pursuing him. A return to coaching at some point is possible."
News broke over the weekend that FOX wants to hire Payton to replace Troy Aikman as the network's No. 1 NFL analyst alongside Joe Buck if/when Aikman leaves for Amazon this offseason. Amazon owns Thursday night exclusive rights starting next season.
Who will be the next Saints coach? The early favorite has to be defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, who interviewed with the Bears and has head coaching experience.
There actually are Super Bowl 57 odds up already and New Orleans is +3500 after missing the playoffs this season with a 9-8 record. The Saints started four QBs in 2021 after starting only five in the previous 15 seasons largely due to Drew Brees.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Will Sean Payton coach an NFL team in the 2022 season?
- No -300
- Yes +250
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