You can’t go back home, Sean, Image: Getty Images
Nearly a full year after Brian Flores’ lawsuit ignited a flame within the NFL that would engulf a potential partnership between Tom Brady and Sean Payton, 2023 could finally see these two join forces. Payton must be sure to walk away from that potential fire and never look back.
Rumors are circulating across the NFL that the two will be signing to the same franchise for the next season when neither Football Expert is under contract. Pro Football Talk’s MIke Florio made the topic even more exciting when he reported that they could both be on their way to where Payton became a future New Orleans Hall of Famer. Florio wrote that a source told him that Payton and Brady’s possibility with the Saints was the “league’s worst-kept secret.”
The news certainly caught the attention of Saints WR Michael Thomas. There was some cleavage between him and Payton last season when Thomas underwent ankle surgery just before training camp started and reportedly didn’t take calls from the Saints’ coaches or coaches during the off-season. Injuries also hampered his 2022 campaign, but he and his $25 million-plus dead cap next year seem intrigued by the idea of Payton’s return and a 46-year-old Brady as quarterback.
This is reported by Saints insider Nick Underhill “It would be a surprise” if Dennis Allen does not return as the team’s head coach next season.
Staying with Allen would be the wise move for the Saints, and Payton should be keeping a close eye on the Dallas Cowboys’ playoff performance. If they pull off another quick exit or get blown out in some round just before the Super Bowl, maybe he’ll finally get the job that’s been rumored to have linked him to for years.
Even if the Cowboys’ head coaching doesn’t open up, Payton doesn’t have to ride his white horse back to New Orleans with Brady by his side and huff and puff himself to 50. Payton could have coached the Saints for as long as he wanted, but he chose to do something else instead. However, he made it clear that leaving the bayou is not retirement.
While his original plans were seemingly thwarted by the Dolphins’ blatant disregard for the NFL’s anti-tampering guidelines, running home with a fair-condition version of Brady to once again compete for one of the best of the bunch isn’t the way to go practice league. Especially with the salary caps the Saints front office has to unravel each season.
Maybe the job with the Las Vegas Raiders will open up, or the Houston Texans want to start with a clean slate with Bryce Young as the No. 1 draft pick. As a rookie quarterback and free to do what he wants with an organization, they might not have stars on their helmets in Houston, but with a star coach and quarterback, this franchise could be flipped in a hurry.
Or maybe Payton doesn’t like any of the available jobs and decides to wait another year. He’s not even 60 years old. Payton will be just as desirable in 2024 as it will be in 2023.
The NFL is his oyster, he just better not ruin it by adding a pinch of Brady – very close to its expiration date.