And if Payton eventually does return to the sidelines, it reportedly will be to coach the Dallas Cowboys.
During an appearance Wednesday on ESPN’s “Get Up,” NFL reporter Kimberley A. Martin shed light on conversations she’d had with folks around the league regarding Payton’s NFL future.
“Regardless of the Sean Payton of it all, Mike McCarthy was going to enter this season looking over his shoulder,” Martin said. “If Jerry (Jones) said, ‘He’s our coach, he’s our guy,’ every week, wouldn’t we question it anyway depending on how this team does? That was the problem of these two seasons. The first year not being good, this season being a complete disappointment. So, yeah, regardless of Sean Payton, that was the issue. When I talked to people yesterday about Sean Payton and the Cowboys, I was immediately told, ‘Oh, he’s definitely going to end up in Dallas.’ League people believe he will definitely end up in Dallas. It’s a matter of when not if.”
Payton, of course, has ties to the Cowboys. The 58-year-old served as Dallas’ assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach for three seasons before taking the Saints’ head coaching job in 2006. Jones reportedly has viewed Payton as “the one that got away” ever since.
As Martin noted, McCarthy likely will be on a very short leash in Dallas in the 2022 season. And if the Cowboys’ current HC eventually is relieved of his duties, Payton very well could be the first call Jones makes.