Sean Payton’s job-related saga has entered Year 2, and speculation over whether he’ll leave New Orleans continues to grow. But don’t be surprised if it comes to an end fairly quickly.
Multiple sources say there is mutual interest between the Saints coach and the Rams organization. The ball is now in Saints GM Mickey Loomis’ court. If he decides he’s willing to part with Payton for moderate compensation, Payton would be the clear front-runner to take over for the job opening created by the firing of Jeff Fisher.
Loomis would have to decide if he wants to keep a coach who would prefer to be somewhere else. There has been no contact yet between the Rams and the Saints, who would have to work out a deal to send Payton to Los Angeles. Payton is also owed $40 million by the Saints, and they could decide to let him go because that’s an incredible price tag for a coach who last went to the playoffs in 2013 and won a Super Bowl in 2009.
Sources also say the Saints are tiring of Payton’s open flirtation with jobs and might be ready to end the era and move on as the team’s rebuild is almost complete. Last year, speculation on Payton’s future center upon the Rams, Chargers, 49ers and Colts. None of it came to fruition. However, there is a renewed fervor this year.
If they do decide to send Payton to L.A., expect Doug Marrone and Dennis Allen to be among the candidates they would consider for head coach. Both are former head coaches.
The Rams will make a decision on general manager Les Snead’s future after they decide who will be their next head coach.
Payton would clearly help with the growth of first-overall pick Jared Goff, a situation that would be mutally beneficial. Goff would get to work with one of the game’s best developers and play-callers, while Payton would get a young passer rather than an aging Drew Brees.
There are other candidates the Rams would consider, from Panthers coach Ron Rivera (who might be linked to the Chargers job if it comes open) to coordinators like Vance Joseph, Kyle Shanahan and Josh McDaniels to former head coaches like Mike Smith.
But if Payton can be had from New Orleans, the rest might be moot.
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