The conspiracy theory is what it is. Many people believe the Dallas Cowboys are waiting until 2023 to pursue Sean Payton as their head coach. Obviously this is heavy speculation during June of 2022 considering that Mike McCarthy is the current head coach of the Cowboys. There are enormous expectations swirling around McCarthy’s Cowboys entering his third year with the team, but with the one that got away from Dallas lurking in the pool of availability, it isn’t hard to add two and two together.
Part of what makes the Sean Payton thing “interesting” for the Cowboys is the price that they would seemingly have to pay to get him. The New Orleans Saints effectively telegraphed what they may ask for in return for Payton with a would-be trade partner next season, but it is obviously going to take more than that.
We are talking about money now.
The Dallas Cowboys are clearly going to have competition for Sean Payton if they pursue him in 2023
A notable factoid about coaches in the NFL is that they do not count against the salary cap. The Cowboys, or anyone else, can dole out as much money as they want for this particular part of their team and considering that Jerry Jones has said many times that he would write “an embarrassingly large” check to win his team a Super Bowl, one would assume that Dallas would be willing to flex a little if the right candidate came along.
Well it stands to reason that Payton will come along in the spring of 2023 and when he does not only will a suitor have to negotiate with the Saints in terms of acquiring Payton, but they will have to negotiate with the head coach himself as far as what will be a new contract. And whoever wins out here needs to be ready to pay up.
It was noted in TheMMQB this week that the Miami Dolphins were reportedly offering Sean Payton $25M per year over the life of a four-year contract in order to coach their team starting this season. He obviously did not wind up taking that.
I’ll pull out the example of Sean Payton to provide context here. The Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Monday that the ex-Saints coach was offered a five-year, $100 million deal to take the Miami job earlier this year. I’m told the offer itself was actually $100 million over four years. And before that, in New Orleans, my understanding is Payton was on a five-year deal worth $80 million, when everything was added up.
The Dolphins hired Mike McDaniel and are therefore uninterested in Sean Payton for the time being, but the point here is that there was a non-Dallas Cowboys team that was willing to spend something significant in order to acquire Sean Payton. Odds are that there will be another next offseason as well.
It hasn’t felt strategically sound for the Cowboys to hypothetically be waiting to pass Payton the torch in 2023. Perhaps he and the team have some sort of understanding about what would happen, but it feels fair to assume that if this is the case that the Cowboys are prepared to at least match the financial offer the Dolphins made.
Financial details of Mike McCarthy’s contract with the Cowboys have been hard to come by for two years, but it was noted when McCarthy joined the team that he exceeded the previous contract that was given to Jason Garrett (5 years, $30 million). Just how much McCarthy exceeded it is up in the air, but there is quite a gap between $6M per year and $25M per year.