Panthers Making Aggressive Push to Land Sean Payton

Tyler Maher
The Carolina Panthers desperately want Sean Payton to be their new head coach.
The Carolina Panthers desperately want Sean Payton to be their new head coach. / ASSOCIATED PRESS

As several NFL teams begin their searches for a new head coach, Sean Payton has emerged as one of the most highly sought-after names. The Super Bowl-winning former head coach of the New Orleans Saints announced his retirement after the 2021 season but is apparently looking to rejoin the coaching ranks.

One team heavily pursuing Payton is the Carolina Panthers, who are in the market for a head coach after firing Matt Rhule less than three full seasons into his seven-year contract. After suffering through Rhule's ineptitude, the Panthers are incredibly desperate to hire a respected coach of Payton's status.

Sean Payton Panthers Rumors

According to NFL reporter Mark Maske, Carolina's owner David Tepper is willing to give Payton "just about anything he wants" to come out of retirement and coach the Panthers.

Unfortunately for Carolina, Payton may not be too interested in helming the Panthers. The team is in full rebuild mode after trading away Christian McCaffrey last season and years of instability at quarterback, so Carolina is still likely several years away from contending. If Payton does coach in 2023, he'll probably want to do so for a more talented team with legitimate playoff aspirations.

That said, it's possible Payton will be enticed by Tepper's blank-check offer. Payton clearly has all the leverage in any potential negotiations with the Panthers and could certainly use that to his advantage, if he so chooses. He's also already familiar with the NFC South after 15 seasons as the Saints' head coach.

Time will tell where, if anywhere, Payton coaches next year. Carolina is in play after making him an offer he can't refuse, but even that may not be enough.

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