Sean Payton is one of the most coveted head coaching candidates and he has interviewed with every team except the Indianapolis Colts.
Currently, there are five NFL teams in search of a head coach. The five teams are the Denver Broncos, the Arizona Cardinals, the Carolina Panthers, the Houston Texans, and the Indianapolis Colts. Four of those five teams have something in common: they’ve all interviewed or scheduled interviews with Sean Payton. The lone team that hasn’t is the Indianapolis Colts. Why isn’t Indy interested in Sean Payton?
Payton is one of the best coaches of the last two decades. Spending all 15 seasons of his head coaching career with the New Orleans Saints, Payton coached the team to a 152-89 record and also a Super Bowl victory. Under Payton, the Saints had nine playoff wins. Sean Payton also developed a reputation as an offensive guru and a great coach for quarterbacks. All things considered, it makes sense that almost every team that’s looking for a head coach is interested in Payton.
So what’s stopping the Colts? Indianapolis’ biggest problem is its offense, and Indy is also likely to select a rookie quarterback in the first few picks of the 2023 NFL Draft. Those two things alone should have Indy interested in Sean Payton. However, there are no plans for Payton to interview with the Colts. The reason why may be the cost it’s going to take to get Payton.
Why aren’t the Colts interested in Sean Payton?
Indianapolis hasn’t publicly announced why they haven’t requested to interview Sean Payton, and Payton hasn’t declared that he was uninterested in the Indy position. So that means the public has to try and figure out why the Colts haven’t interviewed Sean Payton. The most logical assumption is that Indianapolis isn’t willing to pay the price it would take to get Payton.
Since Sean Payton is technically still under contract with the New Orleans Saints, he’ll have to be traded to a team that wants him to be the head coach. The Saints are willing to do business but it has been reported that it’s going to take a hefty package for Payton to actually be dealt. The negotiations of that package start with a first-round pick. Considering where the Colts currently are as a franchise, they aren’t really in the best position to ship away a first-round pick.
Indianapolis finally has a high enough pick where the team can draft a top quarterback and stop cycling through veterans. The Colts aren’t going to trade that opportunity away for Sean Payton, even if he is a great coach. Other teams are in a position to responsibly interview Payton and potentially send away a package of picks. The Broncos are committed to Russell Wilson for several more seasons and the same goes for Arizona and Kyler Murray. Additionally, the rosters for those two teams aren’t necessarily as bad as their records indicate, so they could survive without a first-round pick.
As far as the Texans and Panthers, they are in the market for quarterbacks but Houston has two first-round picks in 2023. Carolina, on the other hand, was 7-10 this past season and finished second in the NFC South. So the Panthers probably feel that they are close enough to sacrifice some picks for a great head coach.
That doesn’t appear to be the case for the Colts. Despite having a long list of candidates, Indianapolis probably knows that it isn’t moving any picks, so the Colts weren’t even going to waste their time or Sean Payton’s.