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Sean Payton seemingly crossed off 1 team’s list

Sean Payton on the sideline

Aug 23, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton looks on during the second half against Jacksonville Jaguars at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton is expected to meet with teams in the coming days about potential head coaching jobs, but it does not sound like a return to the New Orleans Saints is a realistic possibility for him.

Saints head coach Dennis Allen told reporters on Monday that he has been given the impression he will be back next season. Allen said he has had preliminary discussions with general manager Mickey Loomis about the “deep dive” the Saints will have to do after their disappointing 7-10 year.

Payton is still under contract with the Saints through 2024. Any team that hires him would have to compensate New Orleans, likely in the form of draft picks. A report a month ago claimed there were people close to Payton who thought his most likely landing spot in 2023 was back with the Saints. That would have created an awkward situation with Allen, who served as the team’s defensive coordinator for seven years under Payton before being promoted to head coach when Payton stepped down.

The Saints won two less games with Allen than they did with Payton a year ago, but it would be tough to argue that Allen was given a fair shot. He had to rotate Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton as his starting quarterback in his first year on the job. It would be a bad look for New Orleans to fire or demote him.

Payton confirmed on Sunday that he has spoken with at least one team. There will likely be several others. The 59-year-old is said to have his eye on two jobs, and one of those positions is now officially open.

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