The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just clinched the NFC South title, but it is not stopping some for pushing the team to consider firing head coach Todd Bowles. Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox named the Bucs as one of six potential teams that should attempt to make a move for Sean Payton.
Tampa Bay faces a more complicated path to landing Payton, given the team is an NFC South rival of the Saints. Payton is still under contract with New Orleans and his next team will have to orchestrate a rare trade with the Saints to land the head coach.
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have experienced a huge drop-off this season, after Bruce Arians stepped down as head coach,” Knox wrote January 2, 2022. “Replacing Todd Bowles with Payton would be logical—especially if Tampa convinces Tom Brady to return for his age-46 season.
“Brady will be a free agent in March, and he briefly retired this past offseason. During his short time away from Tampa, Brady was reportedly interested in joining forces with Payton and the Miami Dolphins. According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, it was a “done deal” until former Dolphins coach Brian Flores filed a discrimination lawsuit against Miami and the NFL.”
What Would a Trade for Payton Look Like for the Bucs?
Although unlikely, Payton may be one of the few people that would prompt the Buccaneers to consider moving on from Bowles with four more years remaining on his contract. New Orleans is not going to be eager to trade Payton inside the division, but perhaps the coach’s friendship with general manager Mickey Loomis could prompt the Saints to allow the move.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Saints are looking to past coaching trades for their asking price with belief they can land even more for the former Super Bowl winning head coach. The implication is that the Saints could secure at least a first-round pick from Payton’s next team.
“The Saints never have publicly identified what they would want in return for Payton, but league sources know New Orleans has kept close tabs on what other franchises received for other top coaching candidates,” Schefter wrote on January 1. “The Raiders received two first-round picks, two second-round picks and $8 million from the Buccaneers in exchange for Jon Gruden. The Jets received a first-round pick, a fourth-round pick and a seventh-round pick from the Patriots in exchange for Bill Belichick, along with fifth-round and seventh-round picks.
“The Patriots also received first-, second-, third- and fourth-round picks, as well as $300,000 donated to charity, from the Jets in exchange for Bill Parcells. The Saints believe Payton, who went 152-89 in 16 seasons with New Orleans and led the Saints to the only Super Bowl championship in franchise history, is worth what other great coaches have been valued at and then some.”
Brady Left the Door Open to Teaming Up With Payton
Payton could serve as hope for the Buccaneers in an attempt to retain Tom Brady given the two considered teaming up with the Dolphins. Earlier this season, Brady left the door open to potentially being coached by Payton down the road. The early signs point to Brady strongly considering other teams in free agency, and the Bucs attempting to make a move for Payton could give them a chance to retain Brady.
“You never know what happens in the NFL, so,” Brady said about Payton during a December 5 episode of the “Let’s Go!” podcast. “Who knows? I thought I was retired, I wasn’t. Who knows? You never know what the future looks like.”
The Buccaneers face an uphill battle to attempt to pry Payton away from their NFC South rivals. With Brady’s future hanging in the balance, the Bucs should do everything in their power to keep TB12 in Tampa Bay.