Sean Payton is right; the annual reports that he’s leaving New Orleans eventually will be right. In response to the latest round of reports that Payton may be leaving the Saints, Payton has said he wants to stay put in the place he has called home since 2006.
That won’t keep people in the league from being convinced that Payton will be coaching in Miami as of 2016. And people currently in the league definitely believe Payton will coach the Dolphins next year.
It also doesn’t keep the Dolphins from inquiring about Payton’s availability for 2016. And here’s how it would work.
Once the Saints’ season ends, the Dolphins (or any other NFL team) would be allowed to request permission to speak to Payton, and to sign him. Before permission is granted, the two team must negotiate the terms of compensation in the event the new team hires Payton.
So even before Payton would be talking to the Dolphins or any other team, he’d know that the Saints are willing to let him go, and for what terms. Knowing that could change Payton’s mind about staying put.
If/when Payton goes to Miami, he’d have at least one year with Ryan Tannehill as the starting quarterback, given Tannehill’s contract. In Indianapolis, Payton would have Andrew Luck.
Either may be strongly preferred to the quarterback situation come 2016 in New Orleans, which either will have a 37-year-old Drew Brees with a $30 million cap number or someone other than Drew Brees.