Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that several NFL teams are prepared to approach the Saints about trading for HC Sean Payton, which he considers to be a “real possibility.”
According to La Canfora, if the circumstances are right, Payton would be open to being traded.
However, the Saints are not entertaining the prospect of releasing Payton, so he can pursue other coaching opportunities.
La Canfora mentions that Payton and Saints GM Mickey Loomis essentially have full autonomy, with owner Tom Benson dealing with health issues, and Payton is “very enthused about some of the talent on his young team.”
As for teams with interest in Payton, La Canfora says the Dolphins are “very interested,” but it would probably require an organizational restructure for that job to be appealing. Beyond Miami, the Titans, Colts and Browns could be in the market for a new head coach.
La Canfora admits that a breakup could make sense for the Saints and Payton, and could possibly happen at some point in January.
Payton is under contract through the 2017 season, and makes $8 million per year with this agreement. However, reports have said that Payton’s contract will not deter teams from approaching the Saints about a potential deal.
Payton, 51, has lead the Saints to a record of 84-53 (61.3 percent) including their only Super Bowl title over the course of eight-plus seasons in New Orleans.
We’ll have more regarding Payton’s future with either the Saints or other NFL teams as the news is available.