The New Orleans Saints are coming off a difficult 2021 season that featured them falling well short of vying for the playoffs.
It also put into question whether head coach Sean Payton will return to coach another season. Team owner Gayle Benson recently voiced that she is uncertain if Payton will stay on board in New Orleans.
“We don’t know. You know, who knows? We’ll find out soon enough, I guess.” Benson said via ESPN.
NFL Network first reported on Sunday that Payton didn’t cement his commitment to coaching in 2022. It didn’t take long for Payton to address all the buzz surrounding his immediate future with the Saints, as he confirmed what the team feared on Tuesday.
Payton has let it be known he will step down as head coach of the Saints after more than a decade and a half of service, via ESPN.
Sean Payton announced his decision to step away Tuesday, 16 years after he was hired as the New Orleans Saints’ coach, though he stressed multiple times that “retirement is not the right word.”
Payton was under contract through the 2024 campaign, which would require another team to trade for him if he wanted to coach elsewhere. The 58-year-old reportedly holds interest from various TV networks to fill an analyst role.
Payton has brought tremendous stability to New Orleans as he’s currently tied 21st all-time in NFL history with 152 wins while holding a 9-8 playoff record, including winning Super Bowl XLIV.
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The Saints are heading into a crucial offseason that could feature much roster change, especially at quarterback. When healthy, Jameis Winston struggled to provide consistent play.
Meanwhile, Taysom Hill dealt with nagging injuries, and Trevor Siemian couldn’t lift the team forward to the playoffs. Payton stepping down will likely have a significant impact on how the Saints’ offseason unfolds, as his departure would change the course of the franchise.