The Arizona Cardinals will be interviewing Sean Payton for their vacant head coaching job at some point and whether they’ve hired their next GM by then or not, they’ll need to be ready to negotiate what should be a expensive compensation with the New Orleans Saints in Payton end up being their choice.
Although he stepped down as Saints coach after the 2021 season, Payton still has two years left on his contract and New Orleans will be ready to get anything they can in return for his services. The presumption has been that it will cost any team that signs him a first-round pick, at the very least.
Arizona currently holds the third overall pick in this year’s draft. Would the Cardinals seriously consider selling that pick to the Saints — and maybe even more — in exchange for the right to hire 59-year-old Payton?
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“I want the best for him. I do. We do it, collectively as an organization,” Saints executive chairman and general manager Mickey Loomis told reporters on Friday. give to the New Orleans Saints and has taken us to heights that the organization and the team have never reached before, so I absolutely want the best for him.
“But I also recognize that he is a valuable asset. His contract is a valuable asset to our club, and it is our duty to maximize that. Look, I think between the team’s quarterback and a head coach, no one has more of an impact on winning than these two guys in any building. So I know what he brings to the table, and I know that’s really valuable. And it’s our obligation to maximize that value if he chooses to coach again in that time frame when we have those rights.
Payton led the Saints to a 152-89 record and nine trips to the playoffs in his 15 seasons in New Orleans, including a Super Bowl victory in the 2009 season. His teams have won seven championship titles. division. How much could it cost a club to acquire his services?
“We haven’t defined exactly what the compensation will be,” Loomis said, adding of the team interested in Payton, “They are well aware there will be compensation.”
Payton also has interviews with the Broncos and Texans. Houston holds the second overall pick and Denver, which traded its own first-round pick to Seattle in the Russell Wilson trade, will pick in the bottom third of the first round after acquiring it from the 49ers via the Dolphins.
In 2002, the Buccaneers traded two first-round picks and two second-round picks on assists, along with $8 million in cash, for coach Jon Gruden. In 1999, however, he only cost the Seahawks a second-round pick to snatch coach Mike Holmgren from the Packers.
If the Cardinals are focused on Payton to replace Kliff Kingsbury, they will need to get creative in their negotiations with Loomis and the Saints. Because the No. 3 pick this year is so valuable — and could help them land Alabama rusher Will Anderson Jr., the highest-rated prospect in the entire draft — Arizona could offer New Orleans its second-round pick.
The Cardinals could also offer a trade package that includes the distribution of star receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Saints. Hopkins has been linked to multiple trade rumors since the end of the regular season and the Cardinals are reportedly willing to listen to offers to move on from his high salary.
Given the delicacy of any compensation negotiations with Loomis and the Saints, it’s likely incumbent on Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill to hire a new GM first and let that person take care of the Saints, assuming that the next GM is even in favor of hiring Payton.
Bidwill has already interviewed five people for the general manager – inside candidates Adrian Wilson and Quentin Harris, former Giants general manager Jerry Reese, Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham, Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz and Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort. Bidwill also requested an interview with 49ers director of player personnel Ran Carthon, which could take place on Monday.
In addition to Payton, the Cardinals have requested interviews with 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, now a senior defensive assistant and Steelers linebacker coach, for their vacant head coaching position. The Cardinals are also scheduled to meet with their own defensive coordinator, Vance Joseph, at some point over the next few days.