Where Do Saints Rank On List Of Coaching Vacancies With Sean Payton Out?

The Saints are in cap hell, impacting them as a landing spot

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There are nine head coaching vacancies in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints joining the list after head coach Sean Payton informed the team Tuesday he would be stepping away from the sideline.

In addition to the Saints, the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans and Chicago Bears all are in need of a head coach. We previously ranked seven of those landing spots before the Texans and Saints joined the group after “Black Monday” in the NFL.

It now begs the question: Where do the Saints rank?

We’re of the belief the Saints sit outside the top five, which, from first to fifth, go Broncos, Raiders, Jaguars, Bears and Dolphins.

First and foremost, the Giants, Vikings, Texans and now Saints are among the teams with questions at quarterback. For New Orleans, specifically, the answer doesn’t reside in Taysom Hill, Jameis Winston or Trevor Siemian. It wouldn’t be rationale to think Notre Dame product Ian Book is worthy of franchise duties in the near future, either, given his one start this season went horribly wrong. It means the next coach will have to solve New Orleans’ uncertainty under center, which obviously is a major factor.

Another major aspect working against the Saints is that New Orleans essentially is in cap hell. The Saints enter the offseason $71 million (!) in the red for the 2022 campaign, according to Spotrac. You probably won’t be surprised when we say that is the absolute worst situation of any team in the league. The Green Bay Packers, who rank 31st in cap space, are $38 million in the red, which is just about half. Now, this isn’t the first time the Saints have found themselves in cap trouble, but it undoubtedly means there are some financial gymnastics that will have to take place. Saints wideout Michael Thomas, for example, could be one of those impacted.

The Saints, to their credit though, have plenty of talent on the roster. Saints running back Alvin Kamara is a stud behind a great offensive line. On the other side of the ball, Cameron Jordan and cornerback Marshon Lattimore — who are both tied to the organization for three or more seasons — made New Orleans one of the more impressive defensive groups this season. The pieces certainly are there for the Saints.

New Orleans also benefits from being far more of a destination than that of Minnesota, and have been far more successful recently than the Giants and Texans. It makes it more attractive for incoming coaches, and when they’re fixed financially and free agents possibly want to join.

All told, from first to last, we’re going with Broncos, Raiders, Jaguars, Bears, Dolphins, Saints, Giants, Vikings and Texans. Some franchises, of note, are further along in their respective coaching searches, meaning New Orleans will have to get in gear with the other eight landing spots having a head start.

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