Sean Payton is still available for teams with head coaching vacancies, but the options are running thin for the Super Bowl-winning head coach. The Carolina Panthers hired former Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich for the same position. The Denver Broncos are still in play, but it reportedly seems unlikely as San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans looks to be the favorite.
However, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, one team could still be in play for Payton. On the “Pat McAfee Show,” Rapoport commented that the Arizona Cardinals could still land the former New Orleans Saints head coach. He said:
“It sounds like Arizona is still a possibility for Sean Payton.”
The Cardinals fired Kliff Kingsbury shortly after the regular season ended, going 28-37-1 in four seasons.
Sean Payton stepped down as Saints head coach prior to the start of the season. In his 15 seasons with New Orleans, Payton led the team to seven NFC South division titles and their lone Super Bowl victory in the 2009 season. His 152 wins as head coach are the most in franchise history.
The 59-year-old has spent this season working as an NFL analyst for Fox Sports. The question is whether he will be willing to leave the studio to coach the Cardinals next season.
What would be the likelihood of Sean Payton coaching the Cardinals next season?
Taking a step back, the Arizona Cardinals job does have an appeal, especially with Kyler Murray as quarterback. Payton did wonders for Drew Brees in New Orleans and could do the same for Murray. However, the Cardinals star suffered a torn ACL in Week 14 of the season. ACL injuries can take between eight to 10 months to recover from.
This means there’s a possibility that Murray won’t be under center for the team to start next season. It’s also a matter of whether Cardinals ownership will give up the necessary compensation to the New Orleans Saints to hire Payton. The Saints would likely want Arizona’s third overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft for starters.
Sean Payton could command around $20 million per season should a team want to hire him as well. We’ll see if the Cardinals make a push to hire Payton as the coaching carousel is underway.