After a few days of rampant speculation regarding Sean Payton's future with the New Orleans Saints, a bombshell dropped on Tuesday afternoon. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the 58-year-old has informed that organization that he is stepping away in 2022.
Further information from Saints insider Nick Underhill suggests that Payton has decided to retire following an arduous 2021 season. The move will free him from the rigors of coaching, at least for next year, and allow him to take a step back or pursue other interests, such as television.
However, the other potential option for Payton would be to join another team. Like the Dallas Cowboys, perhaps.
As soon as whispers started to come out last week about Payton potentially leaving the Saints, speculation about a possible move to The Star began to run rampant. The longtime head coach has a strong relationship with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and he'd provide Dallas with a clear improvement over current franchise leader Mike McCarthy.
After news broke of Payton's decision on Tuesday, chatter of him joining the Cowboys started anew on social media. While football fans acknowledged that it seems like the the well-regarded head coach will be out of the NFL in 2022, many have already suggested that he'll take over in Dallas in 2023.
It's hard to see Payton ever coaching outside of New Orleans, but if the Cowboys came calling, he'd at least have to consider. Regardless, it seems unlikely that he'll be taking over the top job in Dallas in 2022.
Payton will wrap up this chapter with the Saints as one of the best coaches in today's NFL. He led the organization to a 152-89 overall record and almost always had New Orleans in the running for a playoff spot.
Payton is scheduled to give a press conference later this afternoon where he'll surely give further insight into his decision. Perhaps he'll even open the door to coaching elsewhere in the future.