Tom Brady and Sean Payton have already tried to team up once this past offseason when they attempted to pull off some trickery to end up in Miami together on the Dolphins. It did not work and the Dolphins got docked a first and third-round pick for tampering with Payton. Not so coincidentally, Payton and Brady share an agent. So maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that we're already hearing rumors the pair will try to join up once more -- legitimately, this time.
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio floated a potential outcome today by suggesting Payton may return to New Orleans and Brady would join him there. Florio gave sourced intel that Payton is likely to come back to the Saints if he decides to coach in 2023, and then speculated that Brady would follow. Per PFT:
While the possibility Brady to New Orleans (or anywhere) remains a complete and total unknown, there’s a growing school of thought in league circles that Payton, if he coaches in 2023, will return to the Saints.
One source with a finger firmly on the pulse of pro football told PFT that it’s currently the “worst-kept secret” in league circles.
It would still be a stunner if it happens. Considering the various potential openings for 2023, it could be the only place where Payton and Brady could finish what nearly happened in Miami for 2022.
Brady is a free agent after the season. He can go anywhere. Why not the Saints? Why not team up with Payton? Why not play his home games in the stadium where he won his first Super Bowl?
The Payton side of this makes quite a bit of sense, as Florio later notes. The rumors out there say that Payton will leave the Fox studios for an ideal situation that, at the very least, comes with a high-level quarterback to work with. There are no jobs currently open that boast that and there are unlikely to be any that open up unless Mike McCarthy falls flat on his face in the playoffs for a second year in a row-- which is not impossible but feels unlikely since the Cowboys will be getting an easy matchup in the first round of the postseason if they keep the No. 5 seed in the NFC.
If Payton really feels the itch, the Saints do seem like his most probable landing spot. He's still under contract with New Orleans and this would eliminate any complications. Most of his staff is still there. Current head coach Dennis Allen would probably be happy to slide back into his old defensive coordinator position after a difficult year as the top dog.
Brady could then jump in without any issue because he'll be a free agent. The Saints have a lot of what he's looking for in terms of defensive capabilities and skill position players. The NFC South is very weak so it wouldn't be tough to end up in the playoffs immediately. The offensive line is suspect, though, and the team owes its first-round pick to the Eagles.
There are some pros and cons. The move makes as much sense as Brady leaving for anywhere else and there is no spot that feels more likely for Payton. The hater in me is rooting for this to happen solely because Brady and Payton would be the most hateable QB/coach combination since ... well, Brady and Bill Belichick. We need that collective vitriol back in our lives. For the good of the nation.