Sean Payton Hiring by Houston Texans? Would Coach See the Positives?
Despite their 19-14 win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 16, the Houston Texans have had a largely forgettable 2022 season.
The Texans have limped to a 2-12-1 record in head coach Lovie Smith’s first season at the helm. Despite the potential of promising rookies like running back Dameon Pierce and cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (both of whom currently reside on injured reserve), the Texans already have 90 percent of their vision focused on 2023.
Could that vision include a new face on the coaching bench?
With rumors rife that former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton may be looking to return to coaching in 2023, the 58-year-old would be in high demand; should he officially put his name under consideration for the coaching vacancy.
In 16 seasons with the Saints as head coach, Payton helped lead the team to seven division titles, three NFC Championship Games (2006, 2009 and 2018) and a victory in Super Bowl XLIV. After the 2021 NFL season, Payton announced his retirement from the NFL, ending his tenure in New Orleans with an overall record of 161–97 and as the winningest coach in franchise history.
While Houston isn’t likely to be among the favorites to secure Payton’s services, Fansided’s Texans coverage recently showed the idea to be not too sharp.
For starters, Payton is familiar with the Lone Star State, having spent three seasons as Bill Parcells’ top offensive assistant with the Dallas Cowboys. Although the Texans are far from an immediate contender, their existing roster is loaded with potential talent. Additionally, Houston is expected to acquire the No. 1 in the 2023 NFL Draft. The prospect of selecting Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s CJ Stroud could be quite appealing to Payton.
Although Payton is still technically under contract with the Saints, any team looking to hire him would have to trade with New Orleans to acquire his rights. Houston also has an advantage over other teams in that they can offer a first-round pick without giving up a top pick. The Texans currently own the Cleveland Browns’ first-round pick as compensation for their trade of former franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Despite the fun nature of the idea, there’s no guarantee Houston would entertain the idea of parting ways with Smith. After all, the team is just a year removed from parting ways with former coach David Culley after just one season. Three coaches in as many years wouldn’t exactly send a message of stability to potential free agent targets.
Still, the prospect of landing an established coaching talent like Payton might just be an offer Houston can’t refuse.
The question is: would Payton agree?
Follow Mike D’Abate on Twitter @mdabateNFL
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