NFC Notes: Sean Payton, Cowboys, Giants, Washington


  • In an excerpt from his upcoming book, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio says the Cowboys and Saints nearly had an agreement to trade HC Sean Payton to Dallas following the 2019 season. 
  • Florio says there was mutual interest from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Payton and a deal had been arranged behind the scenes for the Cowboys to trade for the rights to sign Payton to a contract in the week after New Orleans lost to the Rams in the NFC championship. 
  • However, what scuttled the deal was that eight days after the loss, Pelicans forward Anthony Davis announced he would not re-sign with the team. Saints GM Mickey Loomis, who is also the EVP of the Pelicans, reportedly told Payton he couldn’t be a common thread between two successive, high-profile Louisiana sports departures. 
  • Per PFN’s Aaron Wilson, Cowboys OC Kellen Moore is not expected to be hired for any of the current head coaching vacancies this year. 
  • Wilson adds Moore is still seen as having a bright future as a head coach one day but at least one team he interviewed with wondered if he was ready for the leadership responsibilities over the full team that being a head coach required. 
  • ESPN’s Todd Archer notes the Cowboys could have a tough decision with pending free agent TE Dalton Schultz, who could make around $12.5 million a year on a new deal in free agency. 
  • Dallas could tag Schultz but Archer thinks they might be reserving that for DE Randy Gregory.


  • According to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano, Bills OC Brian Daboll is “clearly the favorite” to be the Giants’ next head coach, per someone familiar with their interview process. New York held a second interview with Daboll in person on Tuesday. 
  • Vacchiano notes that not only is there an obvious connection to new Giants GM and former Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen, but New York’s speed in securing interviews with Daboll after hiring Schoen indicates their interest is serious. 
  • However, Vacchiano adds Daboll is not a lock, as there’s a lot of support within the organization for former Dolphins HC Brian Flores. He and Schoen don’t have a direct connection but Vacchiano’s sources say they have spoken recently. 
  • ESPN’s Jordan Raanan writes the biggest decision the Giants have among their pending free agents is whether to bring back OLB Lorenzo Carter on a one-year, prove-it deal. It probably will depend on what defensive system they run in 2022. 


  • The Athletic’s Ben Standig writes there’s a starkly different opinion in league circles regarding 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo compared to the outside consensus. Several league sources told him Washington or other QB-needy teams would be lucky if the 49ers made him available.
  • One AFC pro personnel director pointed to the divisional round as an example of why Garoppolo would be a worthy target for Washington: “In that division, I mean, I think just you just showed he could go toe to toe with (Cowboys QB) Dak (Prescott) and beat him. He’d be the second-best QB in that division.”
  • They also told Standig: “There’s something to be said for a quarterback who can help get us to the playoffs until maybe we’re able to figure out our long-term solution. Help us win and set a positive culture … If we continue to build a team around them, who knows, maybe we get lucky and go on a run.”
  • The same executive also mentioned Bills QB Mitchell Trubisky and Raiders QB Marcus Mariota as players who would be upgrades on paper from Washington’s current group and offer at least a glimmer of long-term potential: “(Trubisky has) got a chance to be that guy, because he’s young. But it’s all about being in the right system for those guys. If you’re not a top-level guy, you got to be in the right system for your strengths.”
  • Standig notes that while one source pointed out how the Panthers had to eat some of QB Teddy Bridgewater‘s contract to get a late-round pick back from the Broncos, the general expectation is that San Francisco won’t give up Garoppolo for less than a Day 2 pick. 
  • ESPN’s John Keim highlights G Brandon Scherff as Washington’s biggest free-agent decision. He points out that while the team says it offered to make Scherff the league’s highest-paid guard last year, it’s unclear how the deal was structured. 

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