Dolphins' Coaching Candidate: Sean Payton Out

Sean Heffron discusses whether or not Sean Payton could have been a good fit for the Miami Dolphins.

Sean Payton will remain with the New Orleans Saints, per sources from earlier today. 

Sean Payton is about as respected a head coach as there is in this league and the fact that he is possibly available should put him at the top of every team’s list in the market for a head coach, including the Miami Dolphins. Sean Payton’s claim to fame is bringing the New Orleans Saints their first Super Bowl victory in the Saints long and losing history. Payton’s otherwise stellar reputation as an NFL coach was damaged with his involvement with the Bounty Gate Scandal in 2012. His lack of control of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’s injury incentive scheme led to his full year suspension in 2012. Prior to becoming a head coach Payton was a successful quarterback coach and offensive coordinator with the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys. During his time in New York he worked under Bill Parcells, which could make Miami an attractive option for Payton with Parcells' former involvement in the organization.

 The New Orleans Saints organization is coming off two back-to-back disappointing 7-9 have hinted at the possibility of shopping Payton and his sizable contract and move on. Despite the recent decline of the Saints, Payton is still considered an A list coach and is being pursued by numerous NFL franchises. The Indianapolis Colts were ready to make Sean Payton their next head coach. until the two sides could not agree to terms and the Colts extended Chuck Pagano instead. The New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, and even although not likely the Dallas Cowboys have been rumored to also show interest.  It is rare that a Superbowl-winning head coach that is as young as 52, like Sean Payton, is available so he will be heavily sought after by numerous teams. Payton being currently under contract for two more seasons with the Saints complicates this bidding war, because the Saints have control of who is allowed to contact Payton and will also expect compensation for Payton. Reports indicate that the Saints will ask for at least a 2nd round pick for the rights to Payton and whatever team gets Payton will be on the hook for the 15 million dollar price tag remaining on his contract. That is certainly a high price tag for a head coach, but this actually may be an advantage for the Miami Dolphins in their pursuit of him. 

 Stephen Ross as an owner has shown that he is willing to pull out his checkbook to wrangle in the big name free agent or coach, if that big name is Sean Payton the Dolphins will be left with a coach that supports his name recognition with production on the field. Ross is looking for a proven winner after striking out with first time head coaches Cam Cameron, Tony Sparano, and Joe Philbin and you can not get more experienced and proven than Payton.The Dolphins will have to pay a steep price tag for Payton’s services but if any owner will be willing to pay it its Ross. Bill Parcells, Sean Payton’s former mentor, still being a trusted unofficial advisor to Ross will also give the Miami an Dolphins an inside track in wooing Payton to South Beach. The Miami Dolphins’ roster is full of talent and they have a decently high draft pick, and depending on how Payton views Ryan Tannehill a franchise quarterback. Miami is an attractive coaching destination. Stephen Ross has also has stated that a new coach will be allowed to move on from Ryan Tannehill if they do not see Tannehill as the future of the franchise. Payton known as a quarterback guru will be able to get the most out of Tannehill or bring in or draft the future franchise quarterback of the Dolphins. Payton served as a offensive coach for the University of Miami early on his career so he has experience living and working in Miami. Overall the Giants and 49ers are considered to be in the front running, but Miami’s willingness to pay the high price, their talented roster, and Payton’s connections with Miami make them a dark horse candidate to land him as a coach. The main obstacles are Mike Tannebaum’s current control of the personnel which he will have to relinquish if Payton takes over and the history of ineptitude as a franchise, but considering what he was able to do with the Saints hopefully he can do that in Miami. One quick side note to consider is the possibility of Drew Brees following Payton on his next coaching job. Brees could come in and provide much needed veteran leadership while Tannehill learns from the bench and the combination of Payton and Brees could lead to a Chad Pennington playoff like season.





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