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NFL Rumors: Cardinals Get Permission to Interview Sean Payton amid Broncos Links

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 11, 2023

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

The Denver Broncos aren't the only ones reportedly interested in potentially hiring Sean Payton as their next head coach.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that the New Orleans Saints provided the Arizona Cardinals permission to interview Payton. Rapoport noted the Broncos also have an interview lined up with the coach who stepped down from his position with the Saints ahead of the 2022 campaign.

The Cardinals, Broncos or any other team that hires Payton as its next head coach would need to provide compensation to New Orleans because he still has two years left on his previous contract with the NFC South team. He can't formally interview with any team before Tuesday.

ESPN's Katherine Terrell reported "the Saints would likely try to start any conversion at a first-round pick."

That apparently isn't stopping Denver or Arizona, as ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Payton is the Broncos' "top option," with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh as a potential fallback option.

While this season went anything but as planned for the Broncos, who fired Nathaniel Hackett before he completed his first year as head coach and did not find success with quarterback Russell Wilson, the Cardinals don't exactly present an ideal scenario either after firing Kliff Kingsbury.

General manager Steve Keim resigned, quarterback Kyler Murray will likely miss the start of the 2023 season as he recovers from a torn ACL, and Jordan Schultz of The Score reported the team will look to trade wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins this offseason.

Throw in a last-place finish in the NFC West at 4-13 in 2022, and Arizona is staring at a daunting situation as it approaches the offseason.

Yet Payton has the track record to turn things around, as he went 152-89 from 2006 through 2021 with the Saints. New Orleans made nine playoff appearances during his tenure and won the Super Bowl in the 2009 season.