Report: Sean Payton Eyes Return as NFL HC with Vic Fangio as DC; Latest on Contract

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 24, 2022

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 09: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 9, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is already putting an "all-star staff" together in the event he lands a head coaching job this offseason, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

One potential addition is veteran defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who most recently spent three seasons as head coach of the Denver Broncos.

Payton will be in high demand this offseason after retiring from the Saints last year, although New Orleans still owns his rights and would need to be compensated with a "draft pick or multiple picks," per Schefter.

An interested team would also need to make the one-time Super Bowl winner "one of the game's highest-paid coaches."

Payton has spent the 2022 season as an analyst for Fox, but he's indicated an interest in returning to the sidelines.

"I think sooner than later," Payton said on Tom Brady's Let's Go! podcast (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."

According to ESPN's Dan Graziano, Payton is among the list of names already being considered for the Carolina Panthers opening.

The Indianapolis Colts also already have a vacancy, while several other teams will have openings by the end of the season.

Payton will likely be a top choice for most teams if available after producing a 152-89 regular-season record across 15 years with the Saints. He's known for his offensive production, ranking in the top five in points scored in nine of those seasons.

Adding Fangio to the staff could be even more exciting considering the 64-year-old's resume of 19 seasons as an NFL defensive coordinator with the Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears.

Fangio led a top-10 scoring defense in six of his last eight years as a coordinator, including the No. 1 unit with the Bears in 2018. Though he struggled as a head coach with the Broncos (19-30 overall record), the defense ranked third in the NFL in 2021.

Payton and Fangio could help lead a quick turnaround for whichever team lands the duo.