It did not take long for the Dallas Cowboys to get linked to Sean Payton after news broke that he is stepping away from the New Orleans Saints. During an update on “NFL Live,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter responded to the Cowboys rumors noting that Payton to Dallas is “not happening.” Schefter added a brief caveat that it would not happen in 2022 as Payton does not plan on coaching this season.
“There are many things Sean Payton could do this year; coaching an NFL team is unlikely to be one,” Schefter tweeted on January 25. “He remains under contract to New Orleans for three more seasons. He wants some time to decompress, and the Saints would want compensation if they ever were to relinquish his rights.”
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Payton Left the Door Open to Coaching Again But Not in 2022
That is not going to stop the rumors and could put a shadow over Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy heading into the 2022 season. Payton did leave the door open to eventually return to coaching but shot down the idea of being with another team in the fall.
“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,” Payton said during his January 25 press conference. “I don’t think it’s this year … that’s not where my heart is right now.”
Payton Could Replace McCarthy in Future Years: Report
Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson cited sources that believe the Cowboys are a potential option for Payton in “a year or two.” During his end-of-season radio appearance, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones even left the door open for a potential coaching change down the road if he believed it helped the team. The Cowboys would still likely have to give up compensation to the Saints even if he sits out a year since he is under contract through 2024, per Wilson.
“Several sources theorized that Payton could return in a year or two, perhaps with the Dallas Cowboys as the replacement for Mike McCarthy,” Wilson noted on January 25. “…Payton remains under contract with the Saints through the 2024 season. If the Cowboys and Payton have mutual interest, then the Saints would need compensation to make it happen. We have seen head coaches traded before, so it is certainly not out of the question for it to happen.”
Jones Has a ‘Love Affair’ With Payton, Says Former NFL Exec
Prior to Payton making a decision on coaching next season, former NFL executive Michael Lombardi noted that Jones has a “love affair” with Payton. Lombardi suggested Jones could make a big splash by making a move for the former Cowboys assistant.
“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.”
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