Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton continues to be mentioned in speculation with many believing the current FOX Sports analyst could leave the booth and return to the sideline next season.
Payton stepped away from his position in January.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport fueled that fire Sunday afternoon. Rapoport reported that Payton would be interested in a job in Los Angeles if either the Rams or Chargers have end-of-year openings, and cited another report from Nola.com’s Jeff Duncan about a potential return to the Saints.
“The hiring and firing season is just a month away and the specter of Sean Payton hangs over everything,” Rapoport said on NFL Network on Sunday before the Week 14 slate. “Of course, he is a TV analyst, living in Los Angeles, and based on the conversations I’ve had, if he had his druthers, that is where he would remain in the City of Los Angeles, potentially if somehow, somehow, the Rams job or Chargers job came open. That would certainly be something Sean Payton would take a look at.
“And then guys, there’s another fascinating option that Jeff Duncan, plugged into a local reporter, mentioned this morning and something that those close to Sean Payton insist is possible — him actually going back to the Saints. So maybe no trade, maybe just remain under contract and coach there. Improbable, but we’ll see.”
In order for Payton to get a job in Los Angeles, Rams coach Sean McVay and/or Chargers coach Brandon Staley would not return to their respective teams. McVay has hinted at early retirement in the past, and given his level of success in the league he would need to walk away in order for the Rams to need a coach. It’s extremely unlikely that the organization would fire him. Staley, though, is a bit more likely to be shown the exit given how Justin Herbert and the middling Chargers have failed to live up to expectations since he took over.
There will undoubtedly be more coaching positions to open in the coming weeks, too. And Payton, who was previously linked to the Dallas Cowboys, is one of the most attractive candidates on the market.