On Tuesday, head coach Sean Payton told the New Orleans Saints that he was “parting ways” with the team. After 15 years with New Orleans, Payton confirmed that he is leaving the team but didn’t confirm what he is doing for his future. There are rumors that FOX may want him to replace Dallas Cowboys legend Troy Aikman if Aikman leaves for Amazon’s Thursday Night Football broadcast.
And, of course, there are rumors that he may not be done with coaching at all. In fact, in his press conference, Payton said that a return to coaching is definitely a possibility in the future. So, will he likely be the Cowboys coach in 2022? No. Mike McCarthy has only been in Dallas for two years and owner Jerry Jones has openly said that he would only make replacements if it was worth it.
However, Jones also never fully endorsed bringing McCarthy back for next season. It’s hard to imagine that Jones would want to rock the boat any further unless a guy of Payton’s caliber was readily available. But the front office certainly isn’t thrilled with McCarthy’s 18-15 record and his inability to lead this team in the playoffs.
You have to imagine Jones is ready to send Payton a blank check to get him on the Cowboys coaching staff. They have a clear, historied mutual respect for each other. The Saints’ now-former head coach remained close with Jones and company after serving as an assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach for Dallas from 2003-2005.
Could New Orleans Saints former head coach Sean Payton coach the Cowboys in 2023?
Now, this question brings a much more likely, “yes.” Whether Payton decides to take a year off and relax on his couch or head to FOX Sports to try his hand at broadcasting, a lot can change in a year. Bruce Arians retired from the Cardinals, did television, and then went on to coach the Buccaneers. Urban Meyer (albeit a much less successful story) was a college football analyst for FOX and then headed to Jacksonville.
Payton coming to the Cowboys in another year is far from being out of the realm of possibility. It gives McCarthy another year and it allows Payton to test the waters of coaching retirement.
One thing to keep in mind is that Payton is technically still under contract with New Orleans through 2024. If another team wanted him next year, some form of compensation will likely be headed to the Saints organization. But everyone in the NFL world knows that Mr. Jones has very big pockets and is not afraid to spend his money – especially on a guy he’s tried to get on his coaching staff before.
We don’t expect to see Payton on the sidelines for 2022, but he certainly could be in 2023.