Could Sean Payton be Michigan's Saint?

One of Michigan's top coaching targets is New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton. As things currently stand, here's what we know about Payton, his situation in New Orleans and Michigan's interest in the long time quarterback coach.

Sean Payton

New Orleans Saints HC

Current Salary: $8 million

In nearly eight seasons as head coach of the New Orleans Saints Sean Payton has compiled a 78-47 record including a win in Super Bowl XLIV in 2009. The Saints have made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons and are still in contention in 2014-15 despite a 5-8 record in the NFC South. After two seasons playing quarterback professionally, Payton began his coaching career at the college level in 1988 as an offensive assistant at San Diego State. Payton also made stops at Indiana State, Miami Ohio, and Illinois prior to being hired as a quarterback’s coach for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1997. After floating around the NFL including a stint with the Giants, Payton was hired by Bill Parcells and the Dallas Cowboys as assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach in 2003. Payton’s work with quarterbacks is well known, specifically the development of current Saints signal caller Drew Brees, who is now considered an elite performer at the position in the league today.

Analysis: ESPN Analyst and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer on Payton’s ability to coach quarterbacks: "Not taking anything away from those quarterbacks, Drew especially. But overall I think it's a poorly coached position, and the great ones are so good at coaching it," Dilfer said. "Sean pulled the greatness out of Drew Brees. Bill Walsh pulled the greatness out of Joe Montana. Mike Shanahan pulled the greatness out of Steve Young. Tom Moore pulled that greatness out of Peyton Manning after [28] interceptions in that first season. You see a lot of talented quarterbacks that never have that greatness pulled out of them."

Pros: Payton is the highest paid coach in the NFL for a reason and has done an exceptional job with the New Orleans Saints offensive attack, particularly being one of the first coaches to employ some of the spread looks and packages seen all across the league today. Walking into a recruits’ home with a Super Bowl ring on his finger would mean a heck of a lot and say quite a bit about the allure of Michigan football to steal an NFL coach so highly thought of. Failing to develop quarterbacks in Ann Arbor in recent years, Payton would bring with him the ability and background to improve the position instantly.

Cons: Although Payton has coached as an assistant at the college level he’s never been in charge of a major program as a head coach. From a recruiting perspective, Payton doesn’t have many ties to the Midwest nor the state of Michigan, unclear how well he could relate to high school student-athletes. At just 50 and already possessing one Super Bowl, Payton could eventually find his way back to the NFL at some point.

What We Know:Payton has said publicly he has no intention of leaving the Saints, recently telling reporters at a press conference there is, “absolutely no way” he leaves New Orleans after this season. Payton also added, “it’s silly, it won’t happen” when asked about reports he’d like to leave the Saints organization. Regardless, Michigan appears very interested in further exploring the possibility of Payton landing with the Wolverines.

If Hired: This would be a home run hire for Michigan, absolutely no doubt about that. For Payton to walk away from $8 million per year and a New Orleans Saints franchise that he helped build into one of the NFL’s best, in favor of taking over the job in Ann Arbor, the move would signify a lot for Michigan. Not only that, Payton would surely be able to get the Wolverines to compete in an already top heavy division in the Big Ten.

Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for more on Michigan’s coaching search in the hours and days to come. And be sure to check our Victors Club Forum -- "Members get up to the minute updates here".

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