Monday’s news that the Dolphins planned to pursue a package deal of Sean Payton and Tom Brady included a report, based on Dolphins sources, that Miami had actually called the Saints to seek permission to speak to Payton about becoming coach of the team, and that the Saints declined.
Per multiple league sources, the call wasn’t made to Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis or to team owner Gayle Benson. The Dolphins called Saints assistant G.M. Jeff Ireland, who previously served as the Miami General Manager. According to a Dolphins source, Ireland said he spoke to Loomis, and Ireland told the Dolphins, “Don’t bother.”
So why wouldn’t the Saints accept value for a coach who has left New Orleans and won’t return? It’s still not clear. The Dolphins, we’re told, developed the impression that the Saints weren’t comfortable with the optics of Payton leaving New Orleans and heading straight for Miami.
It’s unknown whether the Saints realized that the Dolphins intended to pursue Brady to play quarterback. (As explained Monday, Dolphins sources say only that the team has had internal discussions about Brady becoming a minority owner.) Regardless, Miami inquired about Payton, New Orleans (through Ireland) said no, and the Dolphins eventually hired Mike McDaniel to coach the team.
Whether the Saints say “yes” or “no” if/when a team calls in 2023 remains to be seen. At some point, however, New Orleans should welcome the opportunity to secure compensation for Payton, given that Payton has closed that chapter of his life and moved on.