Report: Sean Payton ‘definitely is still in play’ for Cardinals and Broncos head coach searches

Here’s the latest on the Sean Payton news cycle from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who joined the Pat McAfee Show on Friday to downplay rumor-mongering from some fake news accounts on social media and share what’s actually being said around the league as Payton looks for his next job. The market seems to have cooled rapidly on the former New Orleans Saints head coach as teams get a better idea of what it would take to pull him out of broadcasting with FOX Sports and get him on their sidelines.

The Carolina Panthers have hired Frank Reich, the Houston Texans are closing in on DeMeco Ryans, and both Payton and the remaining teams with coaching vacancies — the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos — are left trying to figure things out as other coach candidates like Jim Harbaugh and Dan Quinn take themselves off the market.

“So here’s where it stands,” Rapoport began, “Obviously (Payton is) not in play in Carolina. In Houston there’s no second interview scheduled, does not feel like there’s any momentum there. Arizona he was at (Thursday), sounds like that went well, and as of right now that is still a possibility and still in play.”

Rapoport acknowledged that there’s been grumbling over what it would take to acquire Payton, with Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill having just paid out massive contract extensions to former coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim before moving on from both of them and hiring Monti Ossenfort as GM. All of that movement is expensive, beyond Payton’s own salary demands, and the draft capital it would take to net his coaching rights from the Saints.

He continued, “I think there’s interest. Arizona was interested in Frank Reich, was interested in Dan Quinn, not getting either of them. Sean Payton… we’ll see, but that would make some sense. And Denver, he has not been eliminated there. I know they like DeMeco Ryans a lot. But he’s still in play there as well. So returning to FOX now, maybe, but he definitely is still in play in two places.”

Will either the Cardinals or Broncos pony up what Payton is seeking? Talks wouldn’t have gotten this far without a general understanding of what the Saints are seeking in draft pick compensation, so that’s not an issue. The problem is whether either of those teams are willing to match Payton’s contract requirements and give him the organizational control he’s seeking. Hopefully this will all wrap up soon so we can talk and write about things that are real and material, rather than more reports and speculation about what may or may not happen.


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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire