Should the New Orleans Saints and head coach Sean Payton part ways on Monday, the Philadelphia Eagles will reportedly pursue him for their vacant head coaching job, per Paul Domowitch of the Daily News:
Eagles will pursue Sean Payton if he parts ways with Saints Monday, league sources say. My column will be on https://t.co/K1yOt5AXOg shortly— Paul Domowitch (@pdomo) January 4, 2016
Payton, 52, has coached the Saints since 2006, winning the Super Bowl in 2009, compiling an 87-57 regular season record with three division titles and a 6-4 record in the playoffs. His first and last playoff wins both came against the Eagles, in 2006 and in 2013.
Payton's fate will be determined on Monday when he meets with General Manager Mickey Loomis, according to Fox's Jay Glazer. Payton, partially constrained by the Saints poor cap management that saw them forced to trade Jimmy Graham and Ben Grubbs in this offseason and Darren Sproles last season, has gone 7-9 in the past two years, and with a decision looming as to what to do with Drew Brees' 2016 cap hit of $30 million, the Saints may decide to move on from the duo that has brought them unprecedented success in New Orleans.
Should Payton be fired, he would immediately be at or near the top of the everyone's wish list. Under Payton, the worst the Saints have finished in points scored has been 12th, their lowest yardage ranking has been 6th. Five times the Saints have finished first in the league in yards and twice in points, and under Payton Drew Brees led the league in passing five times and in touchdowns four times, including a then-record 5,476 passing yards in 2011.
Payton has Eagles connections, he was Ray Rhodes' QB coach in 1997 and 1998 before becoming QB coach and then offensive coordinator for the Giants, making the Super Bowl in 2000, and then joining Bill Parcells staff in Dallas as offensive coordinator and assistant head coach in 2003, where he remained until being named Saints head coach.
As sterling as his accomplishments are, Payton does carry some controversy. He was suspended for the entire 2012 season after it was discovered that Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams put bounties on opposing players and that Payton was involved in an attempted coverup of it. And in 2010 the Saint were sued by their former director of security, who alleged that Payton and his trusted lieutenant Joe Vitt, the team's linebackers and assistant head coach (who coincidentally Payton met when both were members of the Eagles staff), stole Vicodin from the team's supply. The lawsuit was settled out of court and no formal charges were filed.
There may also be football complications for the Eagles. As a Super Bowl-winning coach Payton brings an enormous amount of clout, and in New Orleans he already has final say over all personnel. General Manager Mickey Loomis handles the salary cap and overall business operations, a set up that the Eagles had under Chip Kelly. With Jeffrey Lurie returning to a more traditional structure where the coach does not have final say, persuading Payton to lose such power could be a difficult sell.
For now though Payton remains the head coach of the Saints, and following a meeting with the owner may remain so for 2016. But should hit the market the Eagles are expected to have interest, so the situation is very much worth keeping an eye on.
UPDATE: Domo's article also mentions the Eagles desire John Harbaugh, but there's no indication the Ravens are going to move on from him. Domo also confirms the Eagles' interest in Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson.