National Football League

Should Dallas Cowboys make bid for Sean Payton?

January 26

Sean Payton is no longer Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints.

That title was removed from his calling card following Payton's abrupt departure from the team Tuesday. 

The news came as a shock, considering that Payton is the team's all-time coaching wins leader (241) and exited the franchise with three years remaining on his five-year deal. He'd been with the organization since 2006, reached the mountaintop in 2009 as a Super Bowl champion and led New Orleans to a 9-8 record this past season. 

Despite missing the playoffs, New Orleans remained a formidable football team amid a slew of injuries, and many posited that N.O. was just a few improvements away from returning to postseason play.

But for Payton, the desire to be the team's headman had simply wafted away.

"It was challenging," he said about walking away. 

"I'm glad that [Saints owner Gayle Benson] told me to spend some time away and give this some thought. This is a big decision and certainly affects a lot of people. It's not often you, as a coach, have the opportunity to possibly leave, and it's not something that I had thought about. As difficult as being fired is, it sure seems easier to thank everyone and be on your merry way."

Payton said he doesn't intend to coach next season, but he was adamantly against calling his decision a "retirement."

"I don’t like the word ‘retirement,'" he said. "We get sold this whole image of retirement by these investment groups on TV and golf courses. Yeah, I still have a vision for doing things in football, and I’ll be honest with you: That might be coaching again at some point. I don’t think it’s this year, maybe in the future, but that’s not where my heart is right now. It’s not at all."

While his New Orleans days have come and gone, Payton clearly left the door open regarding his football future. And that slight crack has allowed space for several speculations to come seeping in.

Payton remains under contract to New Orleans for three more years, so any team looking to add his services would need to work out a deal with the Saints.

One of the biggest rumors centers around that one team — you know, America's team. In Chris Broussard's opinion, the Dallas Cowboys should do just about everything in their power to make Payton their next head coach.

"I believe Jerry Jones caught wind that Sean Payton might do this, and that's why he's been hesitant to say that Mike McCarthy is definitely coming back," Broussard said Wednesday on "First Things First."

"Payton was there in the early 2000s as a QB coach under Bill Parcells. … They should pull out a lot of stops to get Sean Payton. … If you go back 20 years, when Tampa Bay traded with Oakland for Jon Gruden, they had to give up two first-round picks, two second-round picks and $8 million. I'm not giving all of that up for Payton. I won't go too far, but I'll make him the highest-paid coach in the league."

Nick Wright was of the same mindset, insisting that Mike McCarthy is not the man who can guide the 'Boys to their Super Bowl goals.

"[Payton] said [coaching] is not where his heart is right now," Wright said. "I'm very curious how far Sean Payton's heart is from Sean Payton's pocket because I think if the pocket gets fat enough, the heart can change what it's thinking. [If you're Dallas], you have to deal with Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan, Matt LaFleur. You need to find a way to make your team tangibly better than it was this year. You're not going to do it via player acquisition, the draft or free agency.

"If I'm Jerry Jones, I get on the phone and say, 'Listen, what’s the number?'"

Nick Wright to Cowboys: "Your window is right now — get Sean Payton"

Nick Wright breaks down why this is the perfect opportunity for Jerry Jones to move off of Mike McCarthy and give Dak Prescott a true chance to succeed by bringing in Sean Payton.

Skip Bayless tweeted that the idea of Payton in silver and blue made his "heart soar," and his elation came in response to a report that Jerry Jones had offered Payton a lucrative coaching deal in 2019, but the Saints' owner backed out of the arrangement.

"If it got done once, couldn't it get done again?" Bayless said on "Undisputed."

"Jerry Jones apparently conceded total control to Sean ahead of the McCarthy hire. Apparently, it was a stealth move. He pulled it off. It sounds like it was completely in place. Compensation and control were agreed upon. Why not now?"

Skip Bayless reacts to the news that Dallas sought Sean Payton in 2019

Many have speculated that Sean Payton could wind up coaching the Dallas Cowboys after he departed New Orleans.

It seems few would argue that Payton would be a success as coach of the Cowboys. 

Now, all Dallas has to do is successfully convince Payton of what it has to offer — on the field and, presumably, in the bank.

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