NFL Rumors: Saints Eye Brian Flores to Replace Sean Payton amid Giants Buzz

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 28, 2022

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - JANUARY 09: Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins looks on prior to the game against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints are reportedly hoping to interview former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores about their head coaching vacancy following the departure of Sean Payton.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Friday it's unclear whether the Saints will get that chance with Flores among the final candidates to fill the New York Giants' opening:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Saints plan to interview former Dolphins’ HC Brian Flores, who is a finalist for the NY Giants HC job, per source.<br><br>First things first, though; a decision from the NY Giants on their head coach is expected this weekend, and Flores is one of their finalists.

Payton stepped aside Tuesday after 15 years leading the New Orleans staff. The 58-year-old California native said it's not a formal retirement but rather a chance to explore other avenues while keeping the door open to coach again in the future.

"I don't know what's next—and it kind of feels good," he told reporters. "But, man, I felt like it was time. ... But not with any regret. There's some excitement, like, 'All right, what's next?'"

He leaves a significant void after compiling a 152-89 regular-season record with the Saints. His teams also went 9-8 in the playoffs, highlighted by winning the Super Bowl XLIV title.

Meanwhile, Flores was the most surprising head coach firing of the current cycle.

Even though he posted a 24-25 record and didn't reach the playoffs across three years, he was coming off back-to-back winning seasons and generally seemed to have the Dolphins moving in a positive direction.

So it's no surprise he's become a popular candidate elsewhere. SNY's Ralph Vacchiano reported Thursday the Giants' search has come down to Flores and Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, with Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier as a sleeper.

It sounds like if New York opts for one of the Buffalo assistants, the Saints are prepared to swoop in to make Flores a key part of their search.

The 40-year-old New York City native won four Super Bowl titles across 15 years in the New England Patriots organization (2004-2018), first in the scouting department then as an assistant coach.

More recently, he finished third in the Associated Press' Coach of the Year voting in 2020 after guiding the Dolphins to a 10-6 record.

Flores is a strong bet to land another head coaching job before next season gets underway.