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Report: Carolina Panthers eyeing Sean Payton

5/12/2022 11:44:20 PM
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The Carolina Panthers are eyeing Super Bowl-winning coach Sean Payton as the savior who can lead them back to the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl, sources told Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports

The Panthers might be willing to wait a year while the former New Orleans Saints head coach recharges his batteries on TV. Matt Rhule is currently entering his third season as head coach of the Panthers.

The 58-year old Payton currently has TV offers from both Amazon and Fox Sports. 

He could serve as either studio analyst for Amazon’s Thursday Night Football coverage or as a game/studio analyst for Fox. 

During Payton’s season-long suspension in 2012 over “Bountygate,” Fox was the only network to offer Payton a job.

During a podcast appearance with former Saints kicker Morten Andersen, Payton indicated an announcement of his new TV job studio was only days away.

But nobody expects Payton to retire from the sidelines for good. Instead, he’s expected to re-emerge as an NFL head coach during the 2023 season after spending a year on TV. 

A TV “mini-retirement” is a common technique employed by coaches who want to collect a paycheck while taking some time away from the grueling grind of coaching. 

Bruce Arians, for example, called games on CBS Sports for one season in 2018, before returning to coach Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl championship for the 2020 season. Urban Meyer is expected to return to Fox as a college football studio analyst after getting fired by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

If another franchise does hire Payton, they would have to compensate the Saints since he’s under contract through 2024. The cost could be as high as a first- or second-round draft pick.

A Panthers spokesperson told FOS on Thursday: “We would not talk to — or consider — a coach who’s under contract with another team.”

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