What happens if Sean Payton returns to FOX Sports for 2023?

There’s a distinct possibility Sean Payton passes on the multiple head coach jobs being offered to him right now. Whether he chooses to turn down the Denver Broncos due to their worrisome quarterback situation and hypercompetitive division, or declines the Carolina Panthers because of David Tepper’s mercurial influence, or curves the Houston Texans with all of the mess that they’ve accumulated, the former New Orleans Saints head coach could very well do as he’s said he would and return to FOX Sports for 2023.

So where would that leave the New Orleans Saints? Well, for one thing, they’d have an exceedingly difficult time finding a first round pick in the 2023 draft. They lack for assets to trade in exchange for a first rounder after selling it to the Philadelphia Eagles last year, meaning their top pick is likely to stay put at No. 41 overall.

For another, Payton could lose some trade value if he spends another year in the TV studio. He would have been out of coaching for two years at that point and the Saints would have even less leverage than they’re working with now once he’s in the final year of his contract in 2024. They would be under tremendous pressure to accept any deal offered to them or risk getting nothing should Payton wait one more year until he’s a free agent in 2025.

A popular example going around is the difference between attempting a conversion on third down instead of fourth down. Sure, if you can’t make it happen on third down, you can try once more — but the penalty for failure is absolute. The sooner you can complete your objective, the better off you’ll be. The Saints need Payton to accept one of these jobs and bring back a valuable draft pick (and then some). They can’t afford to wait on him another year.

So hopefully Payton likes one of the offers in front of him enough to sign off on it. Whether that’s the Broncos, Texans, or Panthers, the Saints need him to embrace one of those opportunities and give them a nice parting gift on his way out the door. Pushing this back another year, another hiring cycle, could really set the Saints back further than they already are. The entire league seems to be waiting on Payton to make up his mind. Hopefully he doesn’t take much longer.

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire