(Photo by Bleacher Report)
As the New Orleans Saints have not had a winning season since 2013 and been 7-9 for three straight years, the tenure of their Super Bowl winning coach, Sean Payton, might be running stale. With his unwillingness to fire Rob Ryan and Dennis Allen as defensive coordinators after colossal unit failures since 2014, the Saints may have had enough of Payton’s philosophy as head coaches must be successful on both sides of the ball.
As Payton’s offensive genius remains admired by his peers and league evaluators, that there is non-stop speculation of him going to the Los Angeles Rams. “The Rams need a big name in L.A.,” the alleged experts say. “If you don’t, you’ll have a hard time getting people to come out to the stadium.”
Except, with them having a quarterback (Jared Goff) whose rookie season was visually and statistically worse than E.J. Manuel’s and a running back (Todd Gurley) that cannot even crack 3.0 yards per carry against the NFL’s worst run defense, the San Francisco 49ers, the Rams have become toxic in two cities. They finished 4-12, worse than any Jeff Fisher-led Rams team, and after bankrupting their future to make one man, Goff, the team in their new city, they are not only strapped from becoming more talented but cannot acquire Payton either.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded two pairs of first and second-round picks to the Oakland Raiders for Jon Gruden in 2002, and the Kansas City Chiefs traded a fourth-round pick to the New York Jets for Herman Edwards in 2006.
With L.A. 99 percent likely unable to acquire him along with other accomplished head coaches or big names, with his options, Payton may be better off going to a place with minimal risk.
After being one season removed from winning the Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos impressively finished at 9-7 with an elite defense and a former undrafted free agent quarterback, Trevor Siemian. As they say goodbye to their retiring head coach Gary Kubiak, they could use a coach that could ignite their offense since Peyton Manning’s last Pro Bowl season.
Payton’s offenses rank among the top in scoring and yardage every year. However, much of that success is a product of his collaboration with Drew Brees. With Paxton Lynch showing incompetence during his times of play and inability to unseat a passer with an 84.6 rating, Siemian, Payton, strangely, has another advantage despite having “no quarterback.”
Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo played for Payton in his first three seasons and was once close to becoming Payton’s quarterback with the Saints. As he is reportedly endeavoring to go to Denver in case the Cowboys cut him loose, a reunion with Payton and an alliance with Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas could make the Broncos the best offense in the AFC West.
Still, whether it is the Broncos or Saints, Payton has to put any defense in position to succeed. As we saw with Rex Ryan in Buffalo, many coaches fail to do so. If he wants a defensive coordinator to get the most out of the Broncos defensive unit, a plea for Wade Phillips to stay or former Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine to join will have to be made.
Both men know how to pressure the quarterback as defensive minds, and Payton will need either man as he has shown that he might be the offensive version of Jeff Fisher. Before all of that could happen, the Broncos have to be willing to cough up a draft pick for Payton. But after likely regretting an extra third-round pick forfeiture to draft Lynch, they may hesitate to make a move that big.