Insider Give Key Update on Sean Payton’s Future Amid Cowboys Rumors

Sean Payton Cowboys

Getty The Cowboys continue to be linked to Saints head coach Sean Payton.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones did little to quiet the rumors about head coach Mike McCarthy being on the hot seat. One name that continues to be connected to the Cowboys is Saints head coach Sean Payton. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Saints are uncertain if Payton will return to coach in New Orleans next season.

“Sources say that Payton, who has three years left on his contract, has not committed to returning to coach for another season in New Orleans,” Rapoport detailed on January 24. “He has not yet informed the organization for whom he’s coached since 2006 that he will definitely return. Multiple attempts by to reach Payton went unreturned.

“Payton has been on vacation for more than a week, and a person turning off their phone while on vacation is not unprecedented. Payton using the time to decide if he wants to return or step away for a year is noteworthy, however, and he has gone dark on several people close to him.”

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Could the Cowboys Make a Run at Payton?

For Cowboys fans hoping that Jones makes a splash, getting Payton back to Dallas is complicated, even if the coach does not return to the Saints. Payton is still under contract with the Saints making a move to a different team like the Cowboys unlikely, unless they were able to pull off a rare trade.

“It would be highly unlikely for Payton to coach another team in 2022, sources say,” Rapoport added. “Rather, this would be a mini-retirement to recharge for a year after a season several people close to him described as incredibly challenging and difficult.

“In this scenario, the Payton era likely would be over in New Orleans. If he were to return to coaching, it’s expected it would be with another organization, sources say.”

There appears to be conflicting reports over the length of Payton’s current contract. Spotrac noted that Payton is entering the final year of his deal, while Rapoport has the veteran coach in New Orleans for another three seasons. If the Cowboys do not want to give up compensation for Payton, they would need for the coach to “retire” for a season before he is able to hit the free agent market in 2023.

Cowboys Urged to Make a Trade for Payton

It seems like the Payton-to-Dallas rumors surface every few years, and there is a reason to speculate that some of the smoke is being fueled by the coach’s agent seeking a new lucrative deal. Yet, if Payton’s time with New Orleans is coming to a close, the Cowboys cannot be ruled out given Jones’ affinity for the former Dallas assistant. Former NFL executive Michael Lombardi urged Jones to make a run at Payton.

“Now, there has always been a linkage between the Dallas Cowboys and Sean Payton,” Lombardi explained on the January 17 edition of The GM Shuffle podcast. “The Jones family loves Sean, Sean loves Dallas, Sean loves the Jones [family]. There’s a mutual, mutual love affair going on there. Can Sean get out of [his deal]? He has one year left on his contract with the New Orleans Saints. Can he get out of that? Is he allowed to get out of that? Could he just go walk over to Dallas?

“I don’t know, I’m not trying to spread rumors. I just know that there’s a lot of conversation that Sean might take a year off because it’s the last year of his deal. I don’t know if he wants another contract. He’s certainly entitled to one.

“He’s a legitimate coach who could really help fix that team. But would Jerry fire McCarthy if he had a chance to get it? I think this week will be very fascinating to see if Sean does in fact come back to New Orleans or decides to walk away or what happens and I think that could motivate Jerry into a decision.”

For his part, Jones admitted he has not completed his evaluation of the team, including the coaching staff.

“I’ve got a lot to think about regarding these coaches,” Jones told Dallas’ 105.3 the Fan during a January 21 interview.

Follow Jonathan Adams (@JonDAdams) on Twitter for all the latest NFL rumors and Cowboys news!

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