Joe Schoen has hit the ground running in East Rutherford. Since being hired on January 28, the new general manager has completed four interviews for the Giants‘ head coaching vacancy and identified at least one finalist for the gig — Brian Daboll, who is set for a second interview on January 25.
Daboll, fellow Bills coordinator Leslie Frazier, as well as Cowboys assistant Dan Quinn and Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo all have legitimate arguments as to why they’d be a worthy successor to Joe Judge. However, according to former WFAN host Mike Francesca, if the Giants truly want to return to their heyday of dominating the NFC East and collecting Super Bowl trophies, there’s only one man for the job — and it’s none of the aforementioned names.
On January 24, Francesca took to social media to make a stern proclamation, tweeting that “the Giants need to take this opportunity to trade for Sean Payton.” Big Blue, who is coming off a four-win campaign in 2021 and their 10th season over the last 11 years without a postseason appearance, is reeling as a franchise and per Francesca “[Payton] is the right coach to rebuild this mess.”
How Would the Giants Go About Acquiring Payton?
Luring Payton to New York would entail some nifty moving from the Giants organization, as Payton remains under contract with the New Orleans Saints through 2026. Meaning, in order to acquire the former Super Bowl-winning coach, the Giants would likely need to pull off a trade, which makes Francesca’s plea a long shot — if not for anything else but the scarcity of such a move throughout league history.
No head coach has been traded in the NFL since 2006 when Herm Edwards went from the New York Jets to the Kansas City Chiefs. Arguably the most notable coach trade dates back to 2002 when the then-Oakland Raiders delt Jon Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a flurry of draft picks and cash compensation ($8 million). Two years prior, the Jets traded Bill Belichick within the division to the New England Patriots for three draft picks, including a first-round selection.
Having said all that, the Giants are theoretically equipped to package together a worthy offer to send (Saints owner) Gayle Benson’s way, with two of the top seven selections in April’s upcoming NFL Draft currently at their disposal. Which could become interesting considering Payton’s tenure in New Orleans looks to be somewhat on the rocks at the moment.
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Payton’s Future With Saints in Limbo
On January 23, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported that “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. He has not yet informed the organization for whom he’s coached since 2006 that he will definitely return.”
That report was more or less confirmed by Benson, who while speaking with reporters the following day was asked whether Payton would be returning to the team in 2022. Here’s her response:
Of course, Payton does have his ties to the Giants organization, spending four seasons as an assistant coach in New York including three as the team’s offensive coordinator. He’s also spent time under legendary coach Bill Parcells, following the Hall of Fame coach to Dallas in 2003, where he went on to serve as an assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach for three seasons before landing the head gig in New Orleans.
Still, while there are theoretical dots to connect a potential Giants-Payton reunion, Rapoport notes that “it would be highly unlikely for Payton to coach another team in 2022.” Instead, should he choose to distance himself from the Saints, it would be under the guidelines of a “mini-retirement to recharge for a year” ala Bruce Arians from a few seasons back.