Sean Payton: Saints Want 'Mid-or-Later' 1st Rounder in Trade with Team That Hires HC

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 16, 2023

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - OCTOBER 31: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints looks on during the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Caesars Superdome on October 31, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Sean Payton provided an idea of what the New Orleans Saints might require to allow him to take a new job in the NFL.

During an appearance Monday on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Payton said he expects the Saints to recoup a "mid-or-later first-round pick." He added the price tag could vary based on the draft capital of the team hiring him.

Herd w/Colin Cowherd @TheHerd

.<a href="https://twitter.com/SeanPayton?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SeanPayton</a> addresses head coach openings <a href="https://t.co/LYWpWlcalC">pic.twitter.com/LYWpWlcalC</a>

Payton might be unemployed, but he isn't the equivalent of a free agent. He signed an extension with the Saints that carries him through the 2024 season, which allows New Orleans to retain his rights until then.

Giving up a first-rounder is a relatively big price to pay to hire a head coach, but it's less than what some have projected.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Jan. 1 the Saints had "kept close tabs on what other franchises received for other top coaching candidates." CBSSports.com's Jonathan Jones also canvassed some executives about the situation, and almost all of them "estimated it would cost at least a first-round pick."

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had to send two first-round picks to the Oakland Raiders in order to get Jon Gruden, and one executive told Jones that would be his price tag for Payton, though he'd accept a "premium first-round pick" around the top five this year.

Payton went 152-89 in 15 years with the Saints and led them to their only Super Bowl triumph to date. As you'd expect, he's drawing attention from basically every team looking for a new coach this offseason.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Sources: The Carolina Panthers are the latest entrant into the Sean Payton Sweepstakes, receiving permission today to interview the former head coach of their NFC South rival. Carolina, Arizona, Denver and Houston are now all interested in hiring Payton.

A new contender could enter the fray as well if the Los Angeles Chargers fire Brandon Staley following their capitulation in Saturday's AFC Wild Card Round loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jason La Canfora @JasonLaCanfora

Brandon Staley ain't it and Joe Lombardi definitely ain't it and this is epic Chargering. Spanos doesn't like paying people to go away but he needs to give Sean Payton his entire organization, end the nepotism in his front office and do whatever it takes to get Payton for Herbert

There's only so much the Saints can realistically demand in return for Payton because no head coach is worth the kind of haul you see teams getting for elite quarterbacks.

But all of the interest in the 59-year-old means New Orleans can negotiate from a position of strength if it so chooses.