If the rumors ring true about the NFL voiding the deal signed by the New Orleans Saints with head coach Sean Payton, he may be the most sought after free agent coach in quite some time after his suspension ends following the 2012 NFL season. If Payton does leave the Saints for greener pastures – and I am sure they could be much greener in terms of money – he should have no shortage of suitors.
While I am not sure that Payton would leave the Saints, especially after New Orleans finally did the right thing and signed Drew Brees to a long term contract extension, he will at least have to entertain a few of the offers expected to flood his way. In the NFL, it is a business, so he would be foolish not to at least speak with other teams.
As the Saints will also do everything possible to retain the head coach who helped turn them from a perennial loser into an annual Super Bowl contender [sans this year, due to the suspensions, of course] , other teams who are desperate to undergo a similar alteration will be placing a few phone calls to Payton in 2013. Here is a look at 5 teams who should offer Payton a blank check to coach them in 2013.
5. Carolina Panthers – Ron Rivera is a not a bad head coach. I firmly believe that, but I just don’t see it working out in Carolina when a new general manager takes over and brings in his own people. The Panthers may already have a franchise quarterback in Cam Newton, and if anyone can help get him back on track as one of the elite at his position, it would be Payton. The Panthers have many issues, but Newton should be good enough to where he is not one of them. Payton could fix that.
4. New York Jets – I just can’t see Rex Ryan sticking around that much longer. Whether you want to blame Ryan or Woody Johnson or Mike Tannenbaum or all of the overpaid players who are not living up to the hype or to their contracts, eventually, it will fall on the coach. Ryan may be best served as a defensive coordinator, who knows. But if the Jets are serious about one days actually bringing in some offensive weapons, then Payton is the man who can get them playing the right way together.
3. San Diego Chargers – Why is Norv Turner even still coaching the team in the first place? Oh, that’s right, because A.J. Smith would have to fire him, and Smith should have been fired a long time ago as well. Both men should have lost their job years ago, and their performance on the field this season proves that is still true. Philip Rivers is still a top quarterback, despite the fact that his numbers have tailed off in each of the past two seasons. Bring in the right head coach and some more wide receivers and Rivers could return to elite status as soon as 2013.
2. Philadelphia Eagles – So long, Andy Reid. Nice having worked with you, Michael Vick. Hit the bricks, all of you clueless play callers. It is time for a change. I don’t know what the future holds in Philadelphia, but it likely does not appear to be with Reid and Vick. Those two should both go, replaced by Payton and a real quarterback who actually demonstrates ball security and better decision making skills. If the Eagles brought in a better quarterback coached by Payton, this team may not be all that far off from contending for a championship.
1. Dallas Cowboys – Do I even have to offer up an explanation here? Jerry Jones is sick of losing. he also knows that he cannot trust Jason Garrett to lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl. He needs someone who knows what they are doing outside of just coaching, because Jones is becoming more inept at building a winner. Payton could help on so many fronts, and is already familiar with Jones and the Dallas media. While Payton would be a good fit anywhere, this one may make the most sense.