The New Orleans Saints offered up head coach Sean Payton a contract extension recently but the NFL league office decided to void the extension, making Payton a free agent head coach at the conclusion of the regular season. When the news broke of Payton’s impending free agency, several pundits speculated that he might jump to the Dallas Cowboys.
Mike Triplett of the Times-Picayune speculates this morning that a serious offer from the Dallas Cowboys could pry one of the top offensive minded head coaches away from New Orleans. Payton’s children live in the Dallas area and he has a history with the Cowboys organization, serving as the team’s quarterbacks coach prior to joining the New Orleans Saints in 2006.
Mr. Triplett suggests that if Payton wants to leave, the Saints organization might not stand in his way, a move that would set the organization backwards.
The underlying factor in this speculation is what happens to the Dallas Cowboys for the remainder of the regular season. If the Cowboys, currently 4-5, miss the playoffs owner Jerry Jones could decide to make a coaching change and Sean Payton would be an excellent choice. Current Dallas head coach Jason Garrett has shown flashes of turning the corner as a head coach, but he lacks attention to detail and the Cowboys have been mired in mediocrity under his leadership.
If Payton does indeed decide to wait to sign a new contract with the Saints until after he becomes a free agent, there is no doubt that another suitor, other than the Cowboys could come calling. San Diego and Philadelphia could be in the hunt for a new head coach after the season and could throw out an offer that might be too tempting for Payton to turn down. The Saints ownership has to be holding their collective breath as Payton weighs his options.