The NFL's coaching carousel keeps spinning, and a former New Orleans Saints head coach is set to be one of the most pursued candidates. Let's use the NFL odds at DraftKings Sportsbook to assess Sean Payton's most likely next team.
Nearly every offseason there's a rock star head coaching candidate that desperate teams will throw a mountainous sum of money at almost immediately.
Jim Harbaugh has played that role in recent offseasons before staying at Michigan. Harbaugh is being pursued again, and Sportsbook Review's Michael McClymont offered his take on Harbaugh's NFL team, but this time he's not alone among the marquee names.
Sean Payton is being aggressively courted, with the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, and Houston Texans all getting permission to speak with him, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The former Super Bowl champion and 2006 Coach of the Year has been on the sideline since stepping away from the New Orleans Saints after the 2021 season. In addition to winning Super Bowl XLIV while leading the Saints, Payton also guided the team to nine postseason appearances and a 152-89 record over 16 campaigns.
Here's a look at our top destinations for where Sean Payton will be the next head coach (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence is based on a 1-to-5-star rating).
Sean Payton's Next Head Coach Job Odds
(DraftKings so far isn't including the Houston Texans in their odds)
Check out our Next NFL Head Coach Picks.
Sean Payton's Next Head Coach Job Picks
Cardinals (+300) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Quarterback Kyler Murray's presence alone makes the Cardinals an appealing spot for Payton. That potential marriage between offensive guru and dynamic quarterback would temporarily be on hold as Murray recovers from a torn ACL. However, there's optimism regarding his timeline, with ESPN's Adam Schefter reporting in mid-December that Murray is projected to be ready in six-to-eight months.
Murray regressed in 2022-23 before suffering his injury. His yards per attempt tumbled from 7.9 in 2021 to 6.1, and the signal-caller completed 66.4% of his pass attempts, a low since his rookie season. But he'll be just 26 years old to start the 2023 campaign, and the two-time Pro Bowler is still brimming with mouth-watering athleticism that Payton can utilize.
Payton spent nearly all of his time in New Orleans with a pocket-passer in Drew Brees as the core cog of his offense. But he was able to work some magic with the mobile and versatile Taysom Hill, who scored 16 rushing touchdowns under Payton while also recording 2,025 passing yards and eight scores through the air.
Murray is the incredibly wealthy man's version of Hill (think Huell lying on the bed of money). There are plenty of needs throughout the Cardinals' roster, from offensive line improvement to better pass-catching support, especially if wideout DeAndre Hopkins is traded. But in Murray, an established offensive-minded coach would get a quarterback with rare tools, and the potential to anchor his offense for years.
Broncos (+700) ⭐⭐⭐
Watching the Broncos' dead-last scoring offense (16.9 points per game) in 2022-23 was an excruciating experience. Mostly because the unit just couldn't muster enough creativity or consistent downfield push, resulting in just 29 touchdowns (tied for second-last).
But there was an intangible element to the disappointment too, which is where Payton could come in and see the appeal.
Despite all their literal and figurative fumbling, there's plenty of talent throughout the Broncos' roster. Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton form a quality receiving duo, and a formidable defense often kept the Broncos in games despite routinely dealing with poor field position. There are holes Denver needs to fix this offseason, but the talent was there to finish better than 5-12.
Or at least it was at every position except the most important one.
Payton could note all the pieces in place, including returning running back Javonte Williams. And then he could see a cratering Russell Wilson and have one of two thoughts. The first could be to follow his instinct to run far away, as while Wilson hit the rockiest bottom in 2022-23, his struggles aren't isolated to this past season. The second would be for Payton to think that he alone can fix Wilson, and it would be one of his greatest career accomplishments.
The third, of course, would be to forget the Cardinals, Broncos, and any other team and bolt to the Dallas Cowboys. It's likely Jerry Jones' trigger finger gets too itchy if Dallas exits the playoffs early and Mike McCarthy is sent packing. Being the head coach of the Cowboys has always felt like Payton's destiny.
Sean Payton next head coach picks made 1/12/2023 at 11 a.m. ET.
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