Sean Payton says he’ll meet with Panthers owner David Tepper soon

It is going to be a big week for Sean Payton. The former New Orleans Saints head coach is allowed to begin in-person interviews with teams soliciting his services on Tuesday, Jan. 17. His first interview will be in Los Angeles with the Denver Broncos. Then, per Payton himself in an interview with FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd, he’ll head across the country to meet with Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper.

The Panthers requested permission to speak with Payton from the Saints over the weekend. They have also recently taken an interest in defensive coordinators that share ties to Payton, former Broncos head coach Vic Fangio and current Saints co-defensive coordinator Kris Richard. It certainly looks like Carolina is prepared to show Payton that they have a common, vested interest in making Mint Street as comfortable as possible for him.

The good news for the Saints is that if an in-division rival were to be Payton’s desired landing spot, they would have to pay the premium of premiums to get it done. There is precedent for this move to happen within the division. In 1997 New England Patriots head coach Bill Parcells was traded to the New York Jets. A few years later, then-Jets head coach Bill Belichick was traded from New York to New England, as facilitated by Parcells who was then the Jets’ director of football operations.

Each trade netted the head coach’s original team first-round draft selections, though the Parcells trade brought the Patriots in two full seasons later. Payton spoke on draft compensation while visiting Cowherd on Monday estimating the Saints will receive a “mid or later first-round pick” in return for his services. One must assume that single pick would be the focal point of a larger return from whichever team he chooses. A return that should be bountiful if moved across the division to the Panthers.

In 2023 alone the Panthers will have the No. 9 overall selection, a pair of second round picks, the San Francisco 49ers’ third-round selection along with several day three options. It is safe to assume the Saints would want as much as they can get in 2023 with additional 2024 assets likely to be on the table as well. The downside of it all for the Saints? If Payton chooses the Panthers, they will effectively hand over a potential Hall of Fame head coach to a division rival who they must contend with at least twice a year.

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire