According to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL has voided the multiyear contract extension the New Orleans Saints had given to head coach Sean Payton in September 2011. This makes Payton a free agent after the end of the year, where he will easily be the most sought after coach in the league.
I’ve heard immediate speculation that Payton could head to the Dallas Cowboys, assuming they fire Jason Garrett. Payton was the quarterbacks coach for the Cowboys from 2003 to 2005. He accepted the head coaching job with the Saints the following season, which is when Tony Romo became a breakout player.
But Payton also coached the Philadelphia Eagles. He was their quarterbacks coach in 1997 and 1998, when ironically, the team’s quarterbacks were beyond awful. In fact, in 1998, Bobby Hoying set a record for futility when he threw 224 passes without a touchdown (and nine interceptions).
With Andy Reid likely to be fired following the season (unless Philly embarks on a late-season run that likely includes a couple of postseason wins), Payton should be their biggest priority. I don’t expect him to be available. In fact, I think he will head straight back to New Orleans to coach until Drew Brees retires (or beyond).
But I would love to bring in a Super Bowl-winning coach with an incredible reputation for developing quarterbacks. It would be fantastic for Nick Foles, who has yet to play a down in the NFL.
Realistically, I give this virtually no chance of happening. Payton will be staying with the Saints. If he did, I think the Eagles would be a strong possibility, but not his top choice.