Sean Payton may be best served taking another year off

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Sean Payton
(Photo: Parker Waters)

So, Sean Payton departs the New Orleans Saints to end up coaching the Carolina Panthers?

To coach the Houston Texans?

To coach the Denver Broncos?

Frankly, that’s not the type of high profile job that the NFL’s most notable free agent, coach or player figured to land this offseason.

I see Payton coaching in Los Angeles or New York.

I see Payton coaching the Green Bay Packers, a job that he coveted before he accepted the Saints head coaching position in 2006.

Or even Payton coaching the Chicago Bears. Payton grew up in a nearby Chicago suburb. Yes, the Chicago Bears still have cache, even though they currently own the first pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

Payton was rumored to be tops on the list of the Los Angeles Chargers but ownership there doesn’t seem to be interested in a coaching change, even though the Chargers squandered a 27-0 lead in a wild card playoff loss at Jacksonville.

Dallas was supposed to be an option, at least for the legions of frustrated Cowboys’ fans, who seem perpetually unhappy with head coach Mike McCarthy. Murmurs persisted even though Dallas won 12 regular season games.

However, on a Monday night, the Cowboys won their first road playoff game since 1992 with 31-14 smashing of Tampa Bay.

So, for Payton, the upcoming days and maybe weeks will come down to this question: How badly do you want to coach in 2023?

The Saints want Payton to coach this year. Any compensation they get for their former head coach would certainly diminish if Payton sat out for another season.

Payton told a national radio show Monday that the Saints had agreed that compensation would include a mid to late first round pick.

The Saints, a team with obvious needs at quarterback and defensive tackle but without a first round pick, could certainly make good use of that selection.

In Houston, Arizona and Carolina, Payton would have access to top 10 picks. One of the best offensive minds in the game could theoretically draft a franchise quarterback, and be off and running to many years of consistent winning.

Sean Payton, who knows and respects the history of the NFL as much as any, would aim to be the first head coach to win a Lombardi Trophy with two different franchises.

But if I were Payton, I would sit tight. He could return to TV for another year. In fact, he told his Sunday morning TV show brethren it was a 7-in-10 chance he would be back with them next year.

There will be better options for Payton next season.

For the NFL’s premier free agent, good things come to those who wait.

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Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM

Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…

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