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NFL Rumors: Sean Payton Connected to Chargers, Cardinals amid Cowboys Buzz

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVNovember 23, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 11: Former NFL coach Sean Payton speaks during an interview on day 3 of SiriusXM At Super Bowl LVI on February 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SiriusXM )
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is expected to have his pick of NFL head-coaching vacancies this offseason, but he's reportedly expected to be patient in picking out his next job.

Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported Payton has his eye on potential openings with the Los Angeles Chargers and Arizona Cardinals. The veteran coach reportedly prefers a situation in which the quarterback situation is already settled, rather than wanting to draft and develop a rookie.

The Saints retain Payton's rights and will likely expect some form of compensation to allow their former longtime coach to take another job. However, it's unlikely the level of compensation necessary will dissuade any team from pursuing one of the best coaches of this generation.

Of the two jobs mentioned, the Cardinals are far more likely to have an opening this offseason. Arizona is sitting at 4-7 heading into Sunday's game against the Chargers, and Kliff Kingsbury appears to be headed for his third .500 or worse season in four years. Kyler Murray has also seemingly regressed after signing a five-year, $230.5 million contract during the offseason.

Given Payton's success in New Orleans with Drew Brees—another less-than-ideal-sized quarterback (6'0" compared to Murray's 5'10")—the Cardinals could be motivated to break the bank for the coach.

Brandon Staley is 14-13 during his tenure in Los Angeles, but it doesn't appear his seat is especially warm. The Chargers have been ravaged by injuries all season, with quarterback Justin Herbert playing through a painful rib injury and wideouts Keenan Allen and Mike Williams both missing extended time. If Staley is ultimately fired, it likely won't be until after the 2023 season—barring a complete collapse to close 2022.

Payton has been regularly linked to a potential Dallas Cowboys opening, but there does not appear to be any momentum in replacing Mike McCarthy. The Cowboys are a combined 19-8 over the last two seasons (including this year) and are trending toward making a second straight playoff appearance.

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