If he returns, Sean Payton likely will get at least $20 million per year

Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints
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It’s being reported as news that Sean Payton wants $20 million to $25 million per year as part of his next coaching job. But it’s really not news. It’s a given.

Once it became obvious last year that Payton to the Dolphins was a behind-the-scenes done deal that became derailed by the Brian Flores lawsuit, it was reported that the Dolphins would have paid him $100 million, on either a five-year or four-year deal. Which would have resulted in an average of $20 million or $25 million per year.

It would have been interesting to see whether Payton would have reduced his expectations to coach the Chargers, given the presence of quarterback Justin Herbert. But that one isn’t happening, unless Payton sits out 2023 and the Chargers make a change in 2024.

Sitting out 2023 would be very expensive to Payton, if someone is ready to pay him $20 million to $25 million per year right now.

While that sounds like a lot, here’s the item we posted on December 1, 2021: “The full extent of coaching pay isn’t widely known, because plenty of teams used related businesses to funnel extra cash to top coaches. Since there’s no salary cap, no internal rules are being broken. The practice would become relevant only if, for example, entry-level coaches ever tried to claim in court that the 32 separate businesses that make up the NFL are colluding to hold down the wages paid to head coaches.”

Some believe collusion happens when it comes to coaching pay. If the full extent of coaching salaries were available over the past 50 years, chances are that the rate at which coaching pay has increases would be far less than the rate at which player pay and total revenue have mushroomed.

There’s no salary cap for coaches. There’s also no salary floor, no spending minimum. NFL teams have generally done a good job of avoiding bidding wars for coaches, with most teams willing to hold the line — like the Giants did three years ago when the Panthers overspent for Matt Rhule.

It could get interesting this year, if the Broncos and Panthers end up in a tug of war for Payton. They are the wealthiest two ownership groups, and the Wal-Mart mega-billionaires who bought the Denver franchise have far more cash that Panthers owner David Tepper and his $17 billion net worth.

Our guess? The Broncos, sensitive to the fact that they’re the newest members of Club Oligarch, won’t blow the curve so quickly. That would make Tepper the most likely to be the one to bridge the gap between what the best coaches earn and what the best players make by paying Payton more than $20 million per year.

Tepper paid more than $20 million combined for quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield in 2022. Dollar for dollar, that cash would be much better invested in an accomplished coach like Sean Payton.

60 responses to “If he returns, Sean Payton likely will get at least $20 million per year

  1. I know that Florio thinks Carolina is a viable option but I just can’t see him going to the Panthers. He’s destined to go to an AFC team.

  2. He’s probably only earning a couple of million a year at Fox. That’s absurd money. He’s not Vince Lombardi.

  3. That’s a lot of cash for a coach that got to 1 Super Bowl on 15 years with a Top 10 all time QB…glad it’s not my money.

  4. Sean Payton had Drew Brees. One of the best QB’s to ever sling it. Can he do the same with an average QB? Personally I don’t think so. That is why he left NO in the first place.

  5. I think that kind of $$$ would cause issues in the locker room for a coach especially if things don’t go well. Great regular season coach, 9-8 in the playoffs. Having Drew Brees helped a little.

  6. NO WAY!!!!! RIDICULOUS!!!! You’ve only WON 1 SB and that was more than a decade ago!!!! MAN PLEASE!!!

  7. Way too much hype for this guy. 1 Super Bowl NO WAY he deserves that kind of money more than the Hoodie?? No way but some team thats desperate will do it i guess we’ll see.

  8. Tepper paid more than $20 million combined for quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield in 2022. Dollar for dollar, that cash would be much better invested in an accomplished coach like Sean Payton.

    So it’d better if you have your $20 million dollar coach and PJ Walker and Matt Corral as your quarterbacks rather than Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield with a much lower paid coach?
    Steve Wilks went 6-6 with those QBs. There’s no way Sean Payton would be able to match that record with Walker and Corral.

  9. That’s crazy talk right there. BB gets 20 mil per as the greatest GM and Coach of all time.

    Payton isn’t on that level.

  10. Sean Payton doesn’t need an agent or a marketing consultant because the media is doing that work for him in exchange for interviews, quotes, etc.
    Is he worth $20 million? Probably not. The US is still a capitalist country, for now at least, so if the market for Payton is around $20 million then so be it.

  11. Coaching is definitely important…but talent is more important. Look no further than NE. When that guy had a HOF QB, he looked like the best that ever was. Now with a mediocre QB, he looks like a guy that’s not long for the job.

    Or just look at Peyton’s teams… When they had great talent, they were really good. When they didn’t, they weren’t. Never mind the dude only won one SB. All things equal, I’d be happy to have him, but I don’t know that I’d be backing up a Brinks truck full of cash and giving up premium draft picks to get him. I might rather just take a chance on the next young, bright mind that is hungry and wanting to prove himself rather than the guy that’s comfortable and just doing it for the huge dough and ego.

  12. These sports athletes are way over payed there is no reason to be payed that much. I guess where ever he goes that owner will raise the ticket prices

  13. One Super Bowl win with a HOF QB and a suspension for failing to reign in your DC and he is worth $20 Mil? Really?

  14. Judging by his resume, Payton is no doubt a good coach. But judging by his resume, he is also not THAT good. I’m not a Payton hater. I’m a realist. How many times did New Orleans go 7-9 with Brees?

  15. Not bad for pay for a former SCAB qb. It seems the NFL players would have a problem with him participating in trying to break their union.

  16. I’d pay him that only if a 28 year old Drew Brees was included otherwise he’s not worth it.

  17. No coach is successful without a QB. It doesn’t mean he’s a bad coach. That said, I’m not giving up a high pick and paying $20 mil per for SP or anyone else.

  18. The dude is 9-8 in the playoffs. He won 1 super bowl 16 years ago. His offensive play calling worked mostly because he had Drew Brees in his prime. I don’t get the hype. The expectations are way too high for this dude.

  19. I don’t really have a positive or negative view of Payton, as a Lions fan he was not a factor in my sports world. But, he sure seems to be someone other teams have had a shine on for a long time. Always seemed to get positive press and hints he’d be wanted from other cities in the league. Is this a case of he is the item multiple owners/teams have built up in their mind they want so it’s time to act crazy to get that long wanted toy? Or is this a case of lemmings following the prettiest girl in the room in a circle, but she isn’t that pretty really?
    I concur with other posters here, this hysteria seems unwarranted for the results he demonstrated. Including that he had a HOF QB and got 1 and not really close to a second. IMO

  20. If a top tier QB is now worth $50+ million it’s not unreasonable for a top tier coach to be worth at least half of that.

    Interesting to read so much dislike for Payton. He’s easily a top 10 coach. Maybe top 5. Only one active coach (Belichick) has won more than one Super Bowl. Only four active coaches (Reid, Tomlin, Carroll, McVay) have even played in more than one Super Bowl. If there are so many other great available head coaches please enlighten me.

  21. You posters do realize there is only 1 SB winner per year. A lot has to fall in place to win it all. One of the greatest coaches ever. Worth every penny.

  22. With the new owners being super rich compared to the old ones you will see more of this where rich new new owners outbid the old owners for top coach prospects.
    That doesn’t mean they will always work out but it will inflate head coach salaries.

    Payton is a very good coach. If he would add two wins here then I could see paying him that.
    On the other hand a lot of supposedly very good coaches also had excellent quarterbacks playing for them

  23. I can’t imagine him going anywhere who didn’t already have a top younger QB or didn’t have the top pick to select one. Herbert and Chargers would make a lot of sense. But the Brady rumors are ridiculous. Brady has maybe 1-2 years left and then what? Payton collects a ton of losses for a few seasons as the team does a major rebuild hoping they can land another top QB? Not happening.

  24. Someone called Brees “top-10.” He is borderline top-10. Yes he won a title and being top-15 or top-20 is still amazing. But VOLUME is Brees’ legacy. Compare Brees to guys who didn’t or haven’t yet thrown for 80,000 yards. Who would you rather have: Steve Young or Drew Brees? Kurt Warner or Drew Brees? Mahomes or Brees? Elway or Brees? And then you try to compare him to the old-timers like Unitas, Tarkenton, Stabler, Starr, etc. Brees drops like a rock IMO.

  25. Houston makes sense assuming ownership is will to pay the money and give up total control. Obviously, that is assuming a lot. Nonetheless, The Texans are loaded with draft picks in an easy division. New Orleans would ask much less from an AFC team in compensation. When Payton went to New Orleans he chose his Franchise QB as the first order of business. He would have the same opportunity in Houston with the 2nd overall pick.

  26. I can only think of 3 coaches who may be worth that much, BB, BP, JJ and they built teams not only coached, they developed they mentored, they were respected. They all also won multiple SB’s. Payton has only 1 SB, way over hyped

  27. $20M/yr is chump change for most NFL franchises, and while folks bash Payton, are there really many better options out there? The thing that should cause most teams to balk is the demanded draft pick compensation.

  28. This guy hightailed it out of New Orleans the moment he didn’t have his HOF QB. He has one Super Bowl and only 1 appearance in a Super Bowl. I think he only made on NFC title game too. He sures knows how to play the media. Takes notes Sean McVay, this guy is cashing in on reputation alone.

  29. Way, way too much…only won one SB and that was a gimme to NO to help after Katrina. Without a Drew Brees he’s nothing more than an avg coach.

  30. Not sure why ANYONE cares how much money he will make! The money doesn’t come from the salary cap and it’s just the owners money. I’d rather pay a coach who can manage and make the entire team better. Payton has proven he can coach and win in the NFL. Any team that gets him will instantly be better. Hoping he goes to AZ

  31. If Sean Payton gets $20mil per year, so should Mike McCarthy….

    152-89 regular season
    9-8 playoffs
    1-0 super bowl

    159-96-2 regular season
    11-9 playoffs
    1-0 super bowl

  32. Hopefully his performance as a NFL Head Coach is better than his studio performance at FOX Sports. He’s definitely outside of his comfort zone on these FOX Sports segments. It’s brutal.

  33. This only won one SB with Brees talk is nonsense.
    Don Shula never won a SB with Dan Marino yet that isn’t held against him.
    Tony Dungy won one SB with Peyton Manning yet that isn’t held against him.
    I’ll take any SB winning head coach over a Hackett every day of the week.

  34. Coaches are overrated. Players play the game. My dog could coach the Niners to the Super Bowl this year.

  35. pbdisciple says:
    January 19, 2023 at 11:34 am
    $20M a year? Does BB make that much? Uh, 6-1 in SBs and BB won two as DC.
    And 10 total seasons as a HC without a guy named Brady starting and he has 0 SB appearances. When is the last time Bill even win a playoff game without Brady?

  36. Payton isn’t worth this kind of money. But the NFL is extremely reactionary so he will get it.

  37. touchback6 says:
    January 19, 2023 at 11:15 am
    That’s crazy talk right there. BB gets 20 mil per as the greatest GM and Coach of all time.

    No, no, no, no, just no. Greatest GM – hilarious. Greatest coach – ok, as long as he has the GOAT QB on his team. Not so much without. BB is a very good coach that benefitted from having Brady on the team. Even former players that I’ve seen quoted say Brady was the Patriot system, not BB. BB’s coaching tree has been dismal, what does that tell you?

  38. Belichick is a sub 500 HC without Brady. If Belichick is ever considered to be the greatest of all time, it will only be because he had Brady as his QB. Without Brady, he isn’t even mediocre.

    As for Payton, it is easier to get a team to buy into a HC’s philosophy when that HC has a SB ring. There aren’t that many active HCs with a SB ring. Payton will be worth whatever maximum dollar amount he is able to get. I assume that offer will come from Denver.

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