Almost a year after Brian Flores court case lit a flame inside the NFL that would engulf a possible partnership between Tom Brady and Sean Payton, these two could finally join forces in 2023. Payton must be sure to walk away from this potential fire and never look back.
Rumors are swirling around the NFL that the two will sign with the same franchise for next season, while neither football savant will be under contract. Pro Football Talk’s MIke Florio made the subject even juicier when he reported that they could both be on their way to the place where Payton became a future Hall of Famer, New Orleans. Florio wrote that a source informed him that the possibility of Payton and Brady on the Saints is the “worst-kept secret in the league.”
The news certainly caught the attention of Saints’ WR Michael Thomas. There was a bit of a schism in his relationship with Payton last season, when Thomas underwent ankle surgery just before the start of training camp, and reportedly did not take calls from coaches or trainers for the Saints during the offseason. Injuries have also hampered his 2022 campaign, but he and his more than $25 million dead cap next year seem intrigued by the idea of Payton returning and a 46-year-old Brady at quarterback.
Saints insider Nick Underhill reports that “it would be a surprise” if Dennis Allen doesn’t return as the team’s head coach next season.
Sticking with Allen would be the wise move for the Saints, and Payton should pay close attention to the Dallas Cowboys’ playoff performance. If they make another quick exit or get blown up at any round before the Super Bowl, he could finally get the job he’s been rumored to be tied to for years.
Even if the Cowboys head coach doesn’t open up, Payton doesn’t need to ride back to New Orleans on his white horse with Brady by his side, huffing and puffing until he’s 50. Payton could have coached the Saints for as long as he wanted, but he decided to do something different instead. However, he clarified that leaving the Bayou was not a retreat.
While his initial plans appear to have been thwarted by the Dolphins blatant disregard for NFL anti-tampering policies, going home with a Fair Condition version of Brady is no way to return to training for one of the league’s best. Especially with the salary cap knots that the Saints’ front office is forced to unravel every season.
Maybe the Las Vegas Raiders’ job opens up, or the Houston Texans want to start with a clean slate with Bryce Young as their first draft pick. A rookie quarterback and a free reign to do whatever he wants with an organization they may not have stars on their helmets in Houston, but with a star coach and a quarterback, this franchise could turn around quickly.
Or maybe Payton doesn’t like any of the available jobs and decides to wait another year. He’s not even 60 yet. Payton will be just as desirable to be hired in 2024 as he will be in 2023.
The NFL is his oyster, he better not spoil it by adding a pinch of – very close to the expiration date – Brady.