Just one year later, many reports indicate that Payton is already looking to make his return to the NFL.
According to the reports, Payton wants to be an NFL head coach again this season. However, he is looking to join a new team rather than return to the Saints.
There's a catch to this entire situation though: Sean Payton is still under contract with the Saints. This means that if he wants to return this year, the Saints will still own his coaching rights.
The Saints have the option to release Payton, which is highly unlikely. Instead, they will look to trade their former head coach if he wants to join a new team.
According to NFL insider Tom Pelissero, the Saints will be looking for a massive return package in any type of trade involving Payton.
"What teams have heard from Saints GM Mickey Loomis is two 1st round picks," Pelissero said.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis has been fielding calls from teams inquiring about the asking price to acquire Sean Payton. Loomis has reportedly informed the interested teams that he wants two first-round NFL Draft picks in return for the rights to Payton.
This complicates things for Sean Payton as well as the teams interested in acquiring him. It will likely reduce his market significantly; many teams would be unwilling to part with such a haul.
Payton will remain under contract with the Saints until the conclusion of the 2024 NFL season. He will have to wait two more years to become a free agent.
Is the Saints' asking price for Sean Payton reasonable?
The Saints' asking price for Sean Payton may sound absurd at first. But it's relatively reasonable when you compare it to other NFL trades that have involved head coaches in the past.
When Jon Gruden was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Oakland Raiders acquired two first-rounders, two second-rounders, and $8 million in cash. This is much more than what the Saints are asking for in return for Payton.
Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick were each also involved in trades that sent them to a new team. Each of those trades commanded multiple draft picks, including first-round NFL Draft picks.
It's rare for head coaches to be traded in the NFL. But when they are, they often fetch significant draft compensation.