After the Saints were guaranteed another season without a winning record, there has been murmuring of New Orleans Saints and Head Coach Sean Payton parting ways in the offseason. This would be especially odd and difficult after Payton signed a five-year extension to stay in New Orleans this past offseason. As such, if the Saints wanted to explore another head coaching option, it would mean the organization would have to trade Sean Payton, similar to if he was another player on the team.
The Rams, Colts, 49ers and others were all thought to suitors for Sean Payton, and trading a head coach in the NFL - while not common - has been done in the past. Most notably, Bill Parcells, Jon Gruden, and even Bill Belichick have all been traded for draft picks.
Now, after the Saints high-scoring win over the Arizona Cardinals, Sean Payton is almost a sure-bet to be the head coach in New Orleans in 2017.
Ignore the fact that the Saints defense gave tons of yards and 41 points. Ignore the fact that the Cardinals, while originally thought to be a playoff contender and played in the NFC Championship game the year before, were a bad team now mathematically eliminated from the postseason. For better or worse, Sean Payton showed why his offensive mind is valued and will be sticking around the Bayou just a little longer.
There were no major coaching gaffs this week. No blatantly poor clock management. No penalties that fall at the feet of the coach. No questionable challenges. No risky plays that backfired. And the Saints offense almost put up a 50 burger while the defense was able to get a couple of key turnovers.
It is without question to most Saints fans that Payton’s coaching staff (notably in Special Teams and Linebacking) needs an overhaul. And while some fans might be upset that Sean Payton won’t be traded to another team next year, it is a game like this where we can see just want Sean Payton (and his chemistry with QB Drew Brees) can bring to the NFL.
I’m not saying it’s the right call. I’m not even saying it’s the wrong one. But, after yesterday’s game, it’s probably going to be the call moving forward. Like with an NFL replay, the call can be overturned with irrefutable evidence of Sean Payton’s poor coaching in the final two games of the season, but for now, the call on the field stands.