Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Could the Eagles chase Sean Payton?

The multi-year contract extension Sean Payton signed with the Saints in 2011 was voided by the NFL within the year, making the suspended head coach a free agent after this season.

Could the Eagles chase Sean Payton?

Saints coach Sean Payton´s contract extension has been voided by the NFL. (Alex Brandon/AP)
Saints coach Sean Payton's contract extension has been voided by the NFL. (Alex Brandon/AP)

The multi-year contract extension Sean Payton signed with the Saints in September 2011 was voided by the NFL within the year, making the suspended head coach a free agent after this season, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

In the report, Schefter mentions the Dallas Cowboys as the most likely team to chase the Super-Bowl winning coach, but the Eagles would certainly have to be considered among others that would want Payton.

The Eagles, of course, still have a head coach. But Andy Reid's hold on his job is slipping with his team 3-4 and the Eagles in jeopardy of failing to show the "substantial improvement" owner Jeffrey Lurie said the team must show for Reid to return for a 15th season.

The Eagles finished 8-8 last season and have not won a playoff game since 2008. Reid has another year left on his contract, but Lurie said in August he would not consider a possible extension until after this season.

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If he is available, should Sean Payton be the next Eagles coach?

The Saints announced an extension with Payton last year that would keep him in New Orleans until 2015. But the deal was voided because of his role in "Bountygate," in which the NFL said that Saints defensive players were rewarded for taking out opposing players.

Some believe Payton would likely re-negotiate a contract with the Saints when he returns from a one-year suspension because of his relationship with owner Tom Benson. The 48-year-old, though, has ties to several teams that could be in search of a new coach after the season.

Dallas would be an obvious destination. Payton was an assistant coach with the Cowboys from 2003-05 and he recently purchased a home in the Dallas area. Current Cowboys coach Jason Garrett still has two years left on his contract and would need to have a disastrous second half of the season, some around the team believe, to not return.

Payton was the Eagles' quarterbacks coach from 1997-98 when Lurie was early in his tenure as Eagles owner. He briefly lived in Newtown Square, Pa. as a youth and has spoken fondly of his time living in the area.

He once told a story about standing on Route 202 with a sign celebrating one of the Flyers' Stanley Cup titles in the 1970s.

A lot would have to occur for Payton to end up in Philly. Considered one of the best offensive minds in the game, he would have to find the Eagles' quarterback situation appealing to come back. Michael Vick has three years left on his contract, but he's guaranteed only $3 million. Rookie Nick Foles is an unknown entity.

If the Eagles' season continues to go down the tube, the candidates to replace Reid will only grow. There are the obvious big names, like Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden, former Super Bowl-winning coaches that have become broadcasters. There are also hot college coaches like Oregon's Chip Kelly and Alabama's Nick Saban.

Staff Writer
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