Sean Payton, the Super Bowl-winning former coach, is the buzziest name in NFL hiring circles. But whichever team lands the coach will pay a hefty price in both salary and draft compensation.
Payton retired from the Saints after the 2021 season. But he’s still under contract in New Orleans, which means the Saints will receive compensation if a team hires him. But more about that later.
The coach kicked off the week by interviewing with the Houston Texans. The team fired Lovie Smith hours after the regular season ended. Sean Payton has said he’ll absolutely consider the Texans, a team that’s compiled an 11-38-1 record the last three seasons. That’s officially football abyss territory.
Payton also has scheduled interviews with the Broncos and Panthers. His interview with Carolina is reportedly set for Friday. The Arizona Cardinals also are entering the Payton sweepstakes.
“That’s the significance of the upcoming week or two, meeting some of these individuals, asking some questions, maybe some difficult questions,” Sean Payton said of his interviews. “And trying to get answers so we’re not having difficult questions when you’ve already taken the job.”
Sean Payton Could Demand Up to $25 Million a Year
Here’s how expensive hiring Sean Payton could be. A report from NOLA.com suggested that Payton’s salary demand will be between $20 and $25 million a year. Such a salary likely would make him the highest-paid coach in the country. Bill Belichick, the long-time coach of the New England Patriots, makes about $20 million per season. He had the most lucrative coaching contract in the 2022 season.
Meanwhile, the Saints don’t have a first-round pick in this April’s NFL draft. And the team has indicated it wants draft compensation from any team that hires Payton.
“We haven’t settled on exactly what the compensation is going to be yet, but they’re well aware that there is going to be compensation,” Saints GM Mickey Loomis told reporters late last week.
Loomis indicated draft requirements would be tailored to the team hiring Payton. So there is no specific target.
“It’s going to be different for every team because they have different picks and different things available to them,” Loomis said. “They have to get our permission to have a discussion with him. And then we have to have the compensation settled before they can actually hire him.”
The Saints definitely need to rebuild. But like we said, they don’t have a first-round pick in 2023. A team hiring Payton could offer the right kind of draft infusion. The Texans own the second pick of the draft, with Arizona selecting third. Carolina drafts ninth. Meanwhile, Denver has pick No. 29, based on a trade the Broncos made with San Francisco.