The Carolina Panthers have their eyes set on their next head coach, and it is not Sean Payton.
Credit to the Carolina Panthers by preventing the New Orleans Saints from making a GOB Bluth huge mistake.
Although former Saints head coach Sean Payton is still a candidate for the Panthers job, it seems as though Carolina owner David Tepper has honed in on Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. While Johnson is a fast riser in the coaching ranks, hiring him will not be anywhere near as punitive as it would have been to trade for Payton in division. It is why it was never happening.
A few extra picks only to face Payton twice annually would have been a Saints’ recipe for disaster.
Carolina Panthers saving New Orleans Saints from themselves in coaching hire
Payton is going through the interviewing process this week for other jobs. The three other teams he has been tied to are the Arizona Cardinals, the Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans. Denver feels like a bit of a long shot, but Arizona and Houston are very much in play for different reasons. Carolina would have been an interesting fit, but it makes sense for Payton to leave the NFC South.
Frankly, the job that Payton would want above all else is not available due to the Los Angeles Chargers being owned by total cheapskates. That roster is freaking loaded and Payton would have them in the AFC Championship Game in two years, no doubt. With Brandon Staley getting a third year in charge for some season, it will come down to Arizona, Denver, Houston or FOX for Payton.
Because the Bolts are going cheap yet again, it would not be shocking for Payton to do the interviews and decide he would rather go back to FOX for one more year. The Chargers are the job to covet, but that is not becoming available. Arizona has Kyler Murray, Denver has Russell Wilson and Houston has the No. 2 pick, but Los Angeles has Justin Herbert. Carolina is likely moving on.
The Saints need draft capital, but they cannot be dumb enough to trade Payton to a division rival.