After 15 seasons as the Saints' head coach, Sean Payton is stepping away from the team for an indefinite break, as CBS Sports insider Jason La Canfora reported Tuesday. The 58-year-old coach, who led New Orleans to its first and only Super Bowl championship in 2009, isn't necessarily retiring from football, with plans to potentially return to the sidelines down the road. But unless the Saints are truly committed to hiring a new coach only to replace him or her with Payton sometime after 2022, it's likely Payton's time with New Orleans is over for good.
Before Payton informed the Saints of his decision, teams aware of his uncertain future and desire to "possibly leave New Orleans ... explored ways" to acquire or hire the longtime coach, according to ESPN's Dianna Russini. This comes just three years after the Buccaneers swapped draft picks with the Cardinals to finalize a deal with coach Bruce Arians, who had retired as Arizona's coach after the 2017 season. Which teams were -- and might still be -- trying to lure Payton to new pastures?