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Sean Payton trade rumours: Eight logical landing spots in 2023 for longtime Saints coach

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As the NFL playoffs approach with the 2023 offseason, one of the league’s worst-kept secrets concerns longtime Saints coach Sean Payton and his expected return to the game. Since walk away from one’s post At the New Orleans staff summit last January, Payton announced the possibility of returning to a role on the sidelines.

With three jobs already open and more expected to open soon, which teams might actually be willing to hire 59-year-old Payton, who spent 2022 in Fox’s broadcast studio? The answer is more complicated than it seems; Because Payton remains under contract with the Saints, it’s likely that a return in 2023 would involve either reclaiming New Orleans’ top job from Dennis Allen or another team acquiring him from the Saints for draft compensation.

With that in mind, here’s a first look at the most logical contenders for Payton, as well as whether each team would be willing to part ways with their 2023 first-round pick to land the Super Bowl-winning coach:

Projection of the first round in 2023: No. 1 overall

Lovie Smith could be another unique coach in Houston as the Texans prepare to pick their next franchise quarterback, and who better to lead an all-out offensive rebuild than Payton? Other than spending three of his most formative practice seasons in Texas with the Cowboys, Payton likely wouldn’t have much reason to come out of near retirement for such a non-competitor. And the Texans certainly wouldn’t part ways with this year’s top pick to make it happen.

Projection of the first round in 2023: No. 14 overall

Ron Rivera is valued for his locker room leadership, but he’s yet to post a winning season in three years as Washington coach, and barring a Week 18 win over Dallas, he won’t. will have eclipsed seven victories just once in his last seven years in charge. coach. As they prepare for yet another QB reset, Payton would be an ideal voice to welcome, but like the Texans, it hardly looks like the kind of organization he’ll be rushing to join after a year away from the game. . One wildcard is what’s going on with team ownership: Daniel Snyder might just be zealous enough to float a first-round midfielder down the Saints’ path for that kind of splash, and yet if Snyder and Co. sell the franchise, maybe Payton would make him reconsider coming to town for guns like Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson.

Projection of the first round in 2023: N° 9 overall

If anyone could supplant Steve Wilks in the hiring cycle, even if the interim proved a formidable and resilient leader as Matt Rhule’s in-season replacement, it would be Payton, whose longtime Saints success came into sight of rivals NFC North. Owner David Tepper has apparently been impatient regarding the main building blocks of the squad, QB included, and with a top-10 pick on the horizon, he may instead hand such a big decision to a proven lineup builder. That said, there’s little reason to believe they’d part with said pick to land Payton, nor would New Orleans be motivated to send the coach to a division rival. Wilks has done enough under the acting tag to warrant serious consideration here, reducing the need to go crazy for an outside hire.

Projection of the first round in 2023: No. 29 overall

Russell Wilson is likely tied to Denver for at least another season, which works both for and against a potential Payton lawsuit: on the one hand, there may be no other better-qualified candidate to rejuvenate the former Seahawks star; on the other, Payton may not be inspired by the idea of ​​fixing Wilson at this point in the QB’s career. Still, there are other building blocks here, including Javonte Williams and a spirited defense. Ready to wash their hands of Nathaniel Hackett’s misfires, the new ownership group could easily be willing to part ways with this year’s latest first-rounder — acquired in Bradley Chubb’s Miami trade — to do just that.

Projection of the first round in 2023: No. 5 overall

If anyone has to go the unorthodox route and ship a high-end pick for a splashy rental, it’s owner Jim Irsay, isn’t it? It helps that Indianapolis is badly in need of a long-term reset under center, giving Payton the potential power to pick his own flagman and/or take real control of GM Chris Ballard’s staff. Their first round is almost certainly off limits, especially if they target QB as planned, but who’s to say their 2024 first round wouldn’t be on the table?

Projection of the first round in 2023: No. 21 overall

This storyline relies almost entirely on Tom Brady re-signing with Tampa Bay during or before free agency. TB12 feels much more likely to retire or dress elsewhere, but if the laborious and predictable direction of Todd Bowles and Byron Leftwich is ruled out, and Brady has the chance to team up with Payton, as the two conspired to do at the start of the 2022 offseason, then Bucs ownership would surely do everything possible to seal the deal. Tampa won a trophy going all-in for Brady in 2020, and pairing the QB with a coach of Payton’s caliber would represent a similar gamble in 2023.

2. Cowboys

Projection of the first round in 2023: No. 28 overall

No team has been more consistent and strongly tied to Payton than the Cowboys, who employed the longtime coach from 2003 to 2005 and publicly flirted with him before. Mike McCarthy may seem safe at the moment, recording at least 12 wins in his last two seasons in charge of Team USA, but owner Jerry Jones has admittedly had wandering eyes during his tenure, saying that before this season, Dallas had to be “viable in the playoffsto earn his trust. If the Cowboys were successful in the playoffs for a second straight year, without earning their first playoff victory since 2018, why wouldn’t Jones reconsider a successful pursuit of his former pal? late premiere for that to happen hardly seems out of the question.

Projection of the first round in 2023: N°4 overall

As Arizona drifts toward the finish line on Sunday looking to its fourth starting QB of a lost season, perhaps no team is more ripe for a total organizational reset. General manager Steve Keim is on indefinite leave and coach Kliff Kingsbury, although signed for years to come, has now finished four straight seasons in a slump. They certainly wouldn’t trade a top-five pick to acquire Payton, needing such capital to replenish an older, injury-prone roster. But the presence of the polarizing Kyler Murray makes it an ideal landing spot for the former Saints manager, who has reportedly had his eye on the team for months. If anyone can turn the young QB into a star, it might be him, and settling down in sunny Arizona probably doesn’t seem too shabby either.


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