Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that the Panthers are “eyeing” former Saints HC Sean Payton as the “savior who can lead them back to the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl.”
McCarthy mentions that the Panthers might be willing to wait a year while Payton works for Fox Sports and later move on from HC Matt Rhule.
The expectation has been that Payton will return to the NFL at some point and the Dolphins reportedly expressed some interest in him this past offseason. Beyond that, many have connected him to the Cowboys’ head-coaching job, depending on how things go with Mike McCarthy in 2022.
The Panthers issued the following statement to McCarthy:
“We would not talk to — or consider — a coach who’s under contract with another team.”
It’s worth mentioning that Payton is still under contract with the Saints, who would likely want substantial draft capital for Payton.
Payton, 58, began his NFL coaching career with the Eagles as their QBs coach back in 1997. He later joined the Giants for three seasons before the Cowboys hired him as their assistant HC/QBs coach for the 2003 season.
The Saints brought Payton in as their head coach for the 2006 season and he’s remained in New Orleans since then. He agreed to an extension that will keep him in New Orleans through the 2024 season back in 2019.
For his career, Payton has led the Saints to a record of 152-89 (63.1 percent), which includes nine playoff appearances and one Super Bowl title in 2009.