If Sean Payton comes back to coaching someday, it seems like he'll take the Jon Gruden route and make a stop in the broadcast booth first.
There's a carousel happening in NFL circles long before free agency begins and it's among the networks. A couple days after the bombshell report that ESPN had offered Troy Aikman a massive deal to leave Fox, there was a new report that Payton could replace him.
Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reported that Fox Sports is negotiating with Payton, who recently stepped away as New Orleans Saints coach, potentially to join Joe Buck on Fox's No. 1 NFL broadcasting team.
Could Sean Payton join Fox?
There are many pieces moving. Aikman's move is not official, but if he goes, Fox would need to pair Buck with a big name, if he stays. Front Office Sports reported that former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is also a possibility for that job.
If Payton does join Fox and went immediately to their No. 1 team, it wouldn't be unprecedented. Tony Romo went right to CBS' No. 1 broadcasting team after he retired from the Dallas Cowboys and was an immediate hit.
Payton was one of the NFL's best coaches for more than a decade. At 58 years old he's still young enough to return to coaching with another team. Gruden and others stayed in the public eye doing broadcasting between coaching gigs. If Payton is in a high-profile role with Fox or any other network, the speculation about him with every open head-coaching job will be constant.
For now, the Payton speculation surrounds his broadcasting future. The NFL's television landscape could look much different before the start of next season.