NFL Rumors: Saints HC Sean Payton Leaving New Orleans for Job in TV Has 'Some Buzz'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 18, 2022

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 12: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)  Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints in action against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on December 12, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Saints defeated the Giants 30-9. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton might be willing to entertain a major career change.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler polled NFL executives and coaches to predict what may happen around the league in 2022. He cited "several well-informed people" who brought up the idea of Payton becoming a television analyst.

"Not sure I see Payton walking away from coaching—he loves it too much—but there's definitely some buzz there that maybe he's being courted on that side," one coordinator told Fowler. "Maybe he goes and does that and returns one day to coach the Cowboys or something."

Payton just wrapped up his 15th season with the New Orleans Saints, who finished 9-8 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2016. The 58-year-old isn't on shaky ground in the Big Easy, and he could probably write his own ticket if he decided he preferred to coach elsewhere.

Because of that, him transferring to the broadcast booth would be a bit of a shock.

But Fowler noted how the NFL's media partners are sparing no expense in order to lure big names as part of their coverage.

The New York Post's Andrew Marchand reported in February 2020 that Tony Romo signed an extension with CBS that will pay him $17 million annually. Jon Gruden pulled down around $6.5 million a year from his Monday Night Football duties.

Marchand reported Jan. 11 that Amazon was looking to make a big splash now that it has the rights to Thursday Night Football starting next year. According to the report, Al Michaels has spoken with Amazon about handling play-by-play duties, while Troy Aikman, Drew Brees and Cris Collinsworth were linked for a color role.

The timing couldn't be much better to cash out for those working in TV or aspiring broadcasters.

Payton signed a five-year, $45 million extension with the Saints in 2019. He might be able to match that number as an announcer, and even if he didn't, he could likely get a comparable figure while doing far less work around the year.

If he left coaching within the next few years, then Payton might still have an opportunity to return to the profession at some point down the road if he got the itch to be back on an NFL sideline.