Sean Payton: 10 Potential Landing Spots For 2013 Season
According to multiple reports the NFL has voided the contract extension for suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton allowing Payton to become a free agent after the 2013 season.
The issue in the contract was a provision that would let Payton void his contract if GM Mickey Loomis was suspended, fired or quit the team. The NFL rejected that provision right away, believing it would set a bad precedent for other coaches. The team and the league never came to an agreement on fixing the wording for the contract so it was just voided.
Since the news broke about Payton possibly becoming a free agent after this season speculation has begun on the possible destinations for the Super Bowl winning coach. Three teams immediately come to mind, all of which currently have coaching issues. His current team, the New Orleans Saints, the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles seem to be the front runners to land his services.
Obviously Payton is a high-caliber NFL head coach and it has never been more apparent this season with the Saints struggling due to his absence. The offense has just not been the same without Payton calling the plays and the team continuity doesn’t seem to be evident. It’s not all due to Payton not being on the sideline but it seems to be the biggest factor up to this point in the 2012 season.
The question is, where will he coach next? Here are 10 possible landing spots for Sean Payton once he returns to the sidelines in 2013.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
You might be wondering why the Jaguars would even be on this list but let me lay out a case.
Say Payton becomes their head coach starting in 2013 while they are still in Jacksonville but they finally pull the trigger and relocate the franchise to Los Angeles. It could be a big draw for Payton to be the first head coach in LA since the Rams moved to St. Louis.
Out of all of the teams on the list the Jaguars probably have the least amount of talent but the lure of being the head coach in LA could be a tempting option. It’s very unlikely but crazier things have happened.
9. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs, along with the Jaguars, are considered one of the worst team in the NFL. They haven’t held a lead all season and they only have one win on the year.
QB Matt Cassell has struggled immensely and has more turnovers than touchdown passes so far in 2012. Kansas City already made some changes to try and spark the team by demoting Crennell from his defensive coordinator duties and bringing in Gary Gibbs to take over that role.
Being demoted from DC might not be the only thing that Crennell is relieved of after a season like the Chiefs are having and it could open up the possibility for them to pursue Payton. They don’t have enough talent to bring him in but Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe could be enticing offensive weapons for Payton to work with should he go to KC.
8. Minnesota Vikings
I don’t think that Minnesota is a viable option for Payton but it still could be another opportunity for him to consider.
Leslie Frazier has had ample time to turn the Vikings into a contender but he hasn’t gotten the job done. They have a young, talented quarterback in Christian Ponder and Payton could be intrigued at the possibility of molding him into a better player and there’s always the draw of coaching Adrian Peterson.
Their overall team talent isn’t that great but if they were able to bring in a coach with Payton’s caliber the team could quickly improve.
7. Detroit Lions
After making the playoffs a season ago the Lions find themselves in last place in the very tough NFC North. The Lions have a good team but compared to the top teams in the division, Chicago and Green Bay, they don’t quite stack up.
If they were able to bring in a coach like Payton that could all change. Payton would do wonders for Matthew Stafford and with all of the offensive weapons Detroit has he could turn the Lions into an offensive juggernaut.
The two aren’t quite comparable but the duo of Stafford/Johnson is similar to Brees/Colston and has the potential to put up similar numbers if put in the right situation. Payton could get that out of them but it’s a matter of whether or not Detroit is a good fit for Payton and I don’t think it’s as good of an option as other spots.
6. Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton has fallen back to Earth after his breakout rookie season and along with his sophomore slump the team has taken a dive as well.
The Panthers were a sexy sleeper pick at the start of the season to make the playoffs but the inconsistent play from Newton has had a negative affect on the rest of the team and they currently find themselves in last place in the NFC South. Head coach Ron Rivera is already on the hot seat in just his second season and he has struggled to find ways to get Newton’s confidence back.
Bringing in a guy like Payton could do wonders for a quarterback like Newton and it would boost his demeanor along with confidence. Will it happen? Probably not but the Panthers could be an attractive option if Payton is willing to work with Cam to make him better.
5. San Diego Chargers
Norv Turner has been on the hot seat for the last five years at least but this season may finally be his last.
The Chargers have never lived up to their expectations since he has been the coach and it might be time for them to make a change and bring in a fresh face. This could be an attractive destination for Payton because of Phillip Rivers and the potential that he has as a star NFL quarterback. He’s shown flashes of being a pro-bowl caliber player under center but he’s also been wildly inconsistent and turnover prone.
It could be a challenge that Payton might want to take on to see if he could bring out the full talent that Rivers possesses.
4. New York Jets
Rex Ryan has been a very boisterous coach and while he’s led the Jets to two AFC Championship appearances during his first two seasons as head coach, since then he hasn’t been very successful.
In those first two seasons Ryan went 20-12 in the regular season, twice coaching them to championship berths but last year they finished 8-8, missed the playoffs and they are currently in danger of missing them again as they sit at 3-5 this year. It seems that the players are growing a little weary of his actions even though his coaching antics were what they loved about playing for him in the first place.
Payton is a great offensive mind and I think he could get more out of both Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow than Ryan could. With that said, I don’t know if Payton would be wiling to take on the burden of coaching Tebow and the scrutiny that comes with it.
3. Philadelphia Eagles
Payton already coached in Philly once when he was their quarterbacks coach back in the 1997-1998 season. Eagles owner Jeff Lurie would be wise to make a strong push for Payton seeing that current head coach Andy Reid is likely gone after this season.
There have been plenty of rumors suggesting that Reid’s fate has been decided already and that the Eagles will be looking for a new coach to try and turn this paper championship team into an actual contender. Payton could be very interested in this potential opening but he would have to get some type of guarantee on the status of Michael Vick, whether he’s leaving or staying.
Payton wouldn’t accept the head coaching job if he didn’t have a talented quarterback like Vick already on the roster. That could be one of the main factors on whether or not Philadelphia has a legitimate shot at landing Payton’s services.
2. Dallas Cowboys
Most signs point to Jason Garrett being gone after this season and with the news breaking that Payton will be a free agent after this season it’s hard not to see Jerry Jones make a strong push to bring him in.
Dallas was another coaching stop in Payton’s career when he was the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach from 2003-2005. Jones decided to go with Garrett after Payton left for the Saints and it’s been two completely different stories from there.
Payton becoming available might put even more pressure on Garrett than he is already experiencing trying to coach ‘America’s Team’, a team already loaded with high expectations every season. The Cowboys have had plenty of talent but Jones may think that Payton would be better suited to coach that talent and the Cowboys owner will basically present him with a blank check to try and lure him back to Dallas.
1. New Orleans Saints
Despite all of the other attractive options that Payton will have to choose from after this season, the place that he will most likely end up in is where he is right now, New Orleans.
I think that with all that has happened there and how this season has gone so far for the Saints it would be tough for him to leave his team high and dry and coach somewhere else. The way that his players continued to back him while all of the bounty scandal was going on and how they express how much they miss him being with the team I think it would be too tough for him to leave that.
Plus, it would be very difficult for him to tell Drew Brees he’s leaving after all that he has meant to his career. In the end I think that Payton stays in New Orleans to continue what he’s been building and to make some more championship runs.