CARDINALS

Sean Payton Cardinals speculation swirls after report links former Saints coach to Arizona

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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The Sean Payton to the Arizona Cardinals speculation is increasing, even though the Cardinals currently have a head coach, Kliff Kingsbury.

For months, Arizona Cardinals fans have expressed their interest in having Sean Payton become the next head coach of their team, should the team move on from Kliff Kingsbury.

According to a recent report, Payton may have some interest in coming to Arizona as well.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano recently took a look at some NFL head coaching buzz and touched on where the former New Orleans Saints coach might land and their chatter included the Cardinals.

"Indy and Carolina are already open, and people are watching Denver closely as a potential opening. Arizona is on the watch list if the Cardinals don't turn things around," Graziano wrote. "But my sense is that he'll be picky and will look for a spot where the QB situation is solid, first and foremost. That's why I think a lot of people are connecting him with a potential Chargers opening. People would line up to coach Justin Herbert if that job came open. 

Graziano had more on the Cardinals and Payton.

He wrote: "If not there, I've been told to watch Arizona as a potential Payton destination (again, assuming there's an opening there). And your point is well taken about the fact that an interested team would actually have to give the Saints some compensation in return for Payton, since he's still under contract with New Orleans."

For the Cardinals to hire Payton, they would have to fire Kingsbury, who signed a contract extension before this season. They would also have to give the New Orleans Saints some compensation for the coach, since he is under contract with that team.

Still, that hasn't stop speculation from increasing surrounding Payton and the Cardinals after ESPN's report.

More:Kliff Kingsbury next NFL coach fired? Speculation swirls around Arizona Cardinals coach

Outkick's Zach Dean wrote that The Cardinals would be a great fit for Payton.

He wrote: "The Cardinals gig, however, bears watching. Arizona has disappointed this season, Kyler Murray continues to deal with nagging injuries, and the team sits at 4-7 and outside the playoff picture. The team signed Murray to a massive extension over the offseason, so they’re clearly committed to the young QB. Kingsbury, on the other hand, could very well be on the hot seat. He’s 28-31-1 in 3+ seasons, has yet to make the playoffs, and there have already been some contentious moments this season between him and Murray. The Cardinals, at least on paper, have the weapons and the QB that could fit what Payton wants to do. If they were to make a change, it certainly sounds like the former Super Bowl-winning coach would listen."

Bleacher Report speculated that Arizona could open the checkbook for Payton.

Tyler Conway wrote: "Of the two jobs mentioned, the Cardinals are far more likely to have an opening this offseason. Arizona is sitting at 4-7 heading into Sunday's game against the Chargers, and Kliff Kingsbury appears to be headed for his third .500 or worse season in four years. Kyler Murray has also seemingly regressed after signing a five-year, $230.5 million contract during the offseason. Given Payton's success in New Orleans with Drew Brees—another less-than-ideal-sized quarterback (6'0" compared to Murray's 5'10")—the Cardinals could be motivated to break the bank for the coach."

More:Arizona Cardinals' Steve Keim, Kliff Kingsbury listed as big losers at NFL trade deadline

Fansided predicted that Payton would be the Cardinals head coach in 2023.

Sion Fawkes wrote:" I say bold prediction, because with Kliff’s and Keim’s extensions, that alone may entice Bidwill to hang onto the duo. But given the way they wrecked what should have been at least a playoff contender, and with many outlets listing Payton as a top candidate to replace Kingsbury in 2023, there is a growing chance that Payton will be on the Cardinals sideline. And he would be a perfect fit. You all know that I am no fan of Kyler Murray’s, given his on-field antics and lack of commitment. However, I will say that Murray deserves a mulligan here if Payton comes to town."

Cards Wire's Jess Root wrote about all the "ifs" surrounding the Cardinals and Payton.

He wrote: "The Cardinals would have to move on from Kingsbury, Payton would have to be interested and then, because he is still technically under contract with the Saints through 2024 and, should a team want to hire him before then, the Saints would expect some compensation. It is something to watch over the next few weeks if the Cardinals do not turn things around."

More:Kliff Kingsbury criticism, calls to be fired mount after Arizona Cardinals' loss

Social media also speculated about Sean Payton's potential fit with the Cardinals, should the team move on from Kliff Kingsbury:

Would Sean Payton be a good fit as the coach of the Cardinals, should the team decide to make a move at head coach?

Reach Jeremy Cluff at jeremy.cluff@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.

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