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Sean Payton is so eager to return to coaching in the 2023 NFL season that he has contacted a number of potential assistants that would make up something of an all-star staff for his next team.
Payton in the past 12 months has discussed joining forces with coaching luminaries such as Vic Fangio, Mike Munchak, Mike Westhoff, Todd Haley, Mike Nolan, Gary Gibbs, and even Mike Zimmer, among others.
And although it’s not accurate to say all those coaches would definitely be on Payton’s staff at his next team, they all have shown varying degrees of interest of doing just that, according to NFL sources.
Sean Payton’s Been Considering New Staff For A Year
Payton has actually been discussing a new staff with potential assistants for nearly a year, before he officially stepped aside from his job as head coach of the New Orleans Saints. Payton stepped down in New Orleans on Jan. 25 and is now doing television work with FOX.
Payton, a source told OutKick Sunday morning, is looking to return and has specific criteria designed to make his move perhaps as instantly successful as his jump to the New Orleans Saints in 2006. That move turned the Saints from perpetual also-rans to a playoff team in four of the next six seasons, including the Super Bowl champs in 2009.
Payton would like to find a team that already has a potential franchise quarterback on the roster or go to a team with a high enough selection in next April’s college draft to pick a potential franchise quarterback, a source told OutKick.
Payton also is not going to come cheap.
When he discussed moving from the Saints to the Miami Dolphins last January, a $100 million contract was the actual ballpark discussed. It is unclear how many years that contract would run because it was never finalized but the understanding was it would been for either four or five years.
Steep Price To Hire Sean Payton And Staff
So figure that Payton expects between $20 and $25 million per year to return to coaching.
Part of acquiring Payton is also going to include giving up draft pick compensation to the Saints who continue to own his rights as he stepped away while still under contract.
All that will get Payton’s new team a staff with decades of NFL experience if most of the coaches he’s reached out to come as assistants.
Fangio was the head coach of the Denver Broncos from 2019-21 but was a longtime defensive coordinator at San Francisco and with the Bears prior to that. He’s currently a defensive consultant with the Eagles.
Fangio, by the way, would also be in play to become the defensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh should he decide to jump to the NFL from Michigan.
Westhoff is arguably one of the greatest special teams coaches in NFL history. He coached for Payton in New Orleans and was with the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins before that. One source said this hire could be a fulltime commitment or as a special teams consultant.
Munchak is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as an offensive lineman and is sought after as an offensive line coach. He is currently out of the NFL but has been the head coach of the Tennessee Titans (2011-13) as well as line coach for the Steelers and Broncos.
Payton Has Talked To All-Star Cast Of Assistants
Haley, formerly the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, is currently the coach and general manager of the Memphis Showboats in the USFL. He was the wide receivers coach in Dallas when Payton was the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach.
Nolan, the son of legendary NFL coach Dick Nolan, coached under Payton in New Orleans in 2017-19. He has been the defensive coordinator for the Cowboys, Falcons, Dolphins, Broncos and Ravens as well as a defensive position coach.
Gibbs was once the head coach at Oklahoma and is currently a defensive analyst at Oklahoma State. But his NFL experience includes stops with the Kansas City Chiefs, Saints and Cowboys. Gibbs worked under Payton while with the Saints and alongside him when both were in Dallas.
It is unclear if Payton could find a way to make both Fangio and Zimmer come to his staff because both have designs on returning to head coach positions or being defensive coordinators, a source said.
So the idea would likely be one or the other could join Payton. Zimmer was on the same Cowboys staff that includex Payton under then-head coach Bill Parcells.