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NFL Rumors: Sean Payton Considering Return as HC; Linked to Saints, Rams and Chargers

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 11, 2022

ATLANTA, GA  JANUARY 09:  New Orleans head coach Sean Payton watches his team warm up prior to the start of the NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons on January 9th, 2022 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.  (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If Sean Payton returns to coaching next season, the Los Angeles Chargers or Los Angeles Rams could be his preferred landing spot, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLGameDay?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLGameDay</a> Notebook with <a href="https://twitter.com/MikeGarafolo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MikeGarafolo</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/TomPelissero?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TomPelissero</a>: The specter of Sean Payton hangs over every coaching situation; What to expect for Lamar Jackson &amp; Kenny Pickett; Tom Brady has plenty of options for 2023; The Odell Beckham Jr sweepstakes led to… a holding pattern. <a href="https://t.co/wgCUYuMZ05">pic.twitter.com/wgCUYuMZ05</a>

"He is a TV analyst living in Los Angeles and based on his conversations I've had, if he had his druthers, that is where he would remain in the city of Los Angeles," Rapoport said of Payton. "Potentially if somehow, some way the Rams job or the Chargers job came open, that is certainly be something Sean Payton would take a look at."

In addition to the Los Angeles teams, there is also a chance Payton could return to the New Orleans Saints after stepping away from the team last season, according to Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com.

"One person close to Payton and familiar with his thinking believes a return to the Saints is possible 'if things go sideways' in New Orleans," Duncan reported.

The Saints have struggled to a 4-9 record this year in the first season under Dennis Allen, clinching the team's first losing record since 2016. Duncan clarified that the organization does not want to move on from Allen, with general manager Mickey Loomis and owner Gayle Benson considered "loyal supporters."

There could still be a push to bring back Payton, who had a 152-89 record across 15 years with New Orleans, winning a Super Bowl after the 2009 season.

Payton's familiarity with the Saints, along with the fact they already control his rights, could make this a quality landing spot for the 58-year-old.

It's unknown if there will be an opening in Los Angeles, although there have been rumors of Rams coach Sean McVay retiring throughout the past year. With the team struggling to a 4-9 record this year, he could decide to step away from the team.

The Chargers are currently 6-6, but they have had higher expectations the past two years under Brandon Staley. If the team misses the playoffs again, Staley could be on the hot seat.

Payton will likely be in high demand throughout the offseason, especially after saying that he plans to return to the sidelines this week on Tom Brady's Let's Go! podcast.

"I think sooner than later," Payton told Brady (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk). "I really enjoy the current job I have. ...But I think relative to coaching, though, I know that I want to coach again and it's not really been a secret. But I wanna find the right spot."

The Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers already have openings after firing coaches during the season.