Report: Sean Payton Agrees to Contract with Fox; Former Saints HC to Have Studio Role

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 16, 2022

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints watches his team during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton is the newest notable NFL figure to take advantage of the broadcasting boom.

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported Payton will sign with Fox Sports and likely assume a studio role on Fox NFL Sunday.

In January, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler canvassed league executives and coaches to make predictions for the year ahead. One coordinator told Fowler that Payton was believed to be garnering interest from the NFL's media partners.

Payton stepped down as the Saints coach later that month.

Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reported in February that Fox was discussing a deal with the 58-year-old to potentially have him succeed Troy Aikman as the lead color commentator. McCarthy reported Payton might earn as much as $10 million annually.

However, Fox ultimately lined up Tom Brady as Aikman's successor when his playing career ends.

Sitting in front of a television camera may only be a temporary occupation for Payton. Florio reported he may have signed with Fox for just one year.

In a February report, Florio wrote the Miami Dolphins were exploring a sprawling plan that would've seen Payton hired as their new head coach and Brady installed as the starting quarterback. The plan was shelved after Brian Flores' racial discrimination lawsuit.

Payton addressed the situation in April and referenced his forthcoming career change.

"I have no clue about the Tampa Bay/Miami Dolphins/Tom Brady rumor," he told reporters. "I understand that there was a request put in where the intermediaries talked, and I'm like the rest of you. I heard that story. I'm getting ready to do TV."

It appears Payton will have plenty of flexibility in 2023 to get back into coaching if he feels ready to return to an NFL sideline.