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The Saints may have telegraphed their starting asking price for Sean Payton in 2023

We may have an idea on what New Orleans could ask for in exchange for Sean Payton.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

This NFL offseason has been so much fun. We have seen NFL players that were once staples for a particular franchise sent packing in exchange for different bounties of capital. Russell Wilson, Davante Adams, and Tyreek Hill are just some of the players who have changed homes this season by way of trade.

But what about coaches? While there are a handful of newbies across the NFL, there is one coach who is going to be sitting out this season that many believe will be wearing a different visor if he decides to return to the NFL sidelines. We are talking about Sean Payton who is going to be a name connected to the Dallas Cowboys until he ultimately winds up somewhere else.

If Payton were to coach another team he would have to be traded by the Saints to his new squad. We have had no real idea what that could cost, but Monday maybe gave us a little bit of an idea.

Is this the Saints’ starting asking price for Sean Payton in 2023?

While there is precedent for NFL coaches being traded there isn’t exactly equal precedent. The most notable example of a head coach being dealt from one team to another is Jon Gruden. The Oakland Raiders sent him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2002 offseason. The Bucs went on to win their first Super Bowl under Gruden so they would obviously say it was worth it, but they gave up some pretty premium resources in order to land him:

  • 2002 1st-round pick
  • 2002 2nd-round pick
  • 2003 1st-round pick
  • 2004 2nd-round pick
  • $8M

As far as draft capital goes it took two firsts and two seconds for the Buccaneers to get the head coach that they wanted, but that was all the way back in 2002. And that was for a head coach who had had a lot of success at that point in time in Jon Gruden.

Interestingly enough, Tampa Bay was involved in another trade for a head coach, this time just three years ago in 2019. The Buccaneers struck a deal with the Arizona Cardinals to acquire the recently-retired-for-the-second-time (a la Jason Witten) Bruce Arians and did not have to give up anywhere near as much.

It was basically a pick swap between Tampa and Arizona that sent Bruce Arians to the team he would eventually win the Super Bowl with (Tampa has pretty good luck at trading for head coaches!) which was a show of good faith from the Cardinals franchise. With all due respect to Bruce Arians in 2019, the New Orleans Saints likely realize that they can receive something far more legitimate for Sean Payton in 2023 should they go down the path of trading him if he wants to return to the NFL.

Given the opposite of extremes that exist as far as compensation for traded coaches in recent memory, it has been hard to know what the Saints could ask for in exchange for Sean Payton. The Saints did make a trade of one variety on Monday as they struck a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles with all sorts of draft compensation involved.

The Saints gave up a few resources to prepare for a bigger push in the here and now. Anytime you give something up you are obviously down whatever you gave, so the Saints are seemingly comfortable surrendering those picks. Why would they be comfortable, though?

Is it possible that the Saints are preparing for a world next season where the Dallas Cowboys (or someone else) could trade for Sean Payton and help New Orleans recoup what they just gave to the Eagles? That isn’t impossible, right?

The meatiest things given up by New Orleans are a 2023 first and 2024 second. It is possible that the asking price for Sean Payton next offseason has a floor starting somewhere around there with other pieces sprinkled in to make it all work.

That doesn’t seem absurd at all if you believe that the coach you are trading for is the person to take your team over the hump, but the Cowboys have been trying to get over this hump for a long time. Does Sean Payton really have the magic elixir or has that been a convenient dream we have held on to for a decade now?

Time will tell.