King: Lurie Would Pursue Payton

Yesterday, Tim addressed the possibility of Sean Payton potentially being a target for the Eagles if they part ways with Andy Reid this offseason.

In case you missed the report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Payton’s contract with the Saints has been voided by the NFL. That means he’s basically a free-agent coach. However, Jay Glazer of FoxSports.com reports that Payton “absolutely plans” on returning to the Saints in 2012.

So where does that leave us?

In his Monday Morning Quarterback column on SI.com, Peter King notes that Payton returning to the Saints is not a lock. If he was definitely going back to New Orleans, he would have signed a new deal by now, and this story would have never gotten out. King takes it a step further and looks at which teams could potentially be interested in Payton. The two he comes up with are the Eagles and the Cowboys:

If Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie fires Andy Reid at the end of the season, Payton, who coached quarterbacks in Philly in 1997 and ’98, would be intriguing to him, and I believe Lurie would try hard to get him. It’s a Lurie kind of move, trying to head off Dallas at the pass and take the kind of jump with a playoff-ready team that would give them a chance to break out of their recent malaise.

Lurie stated before the season that Reid’s Eagles needed to show substantial improvement in 2012 for the coach to keep his job. With the team at 3-4 going into tonight’s matchup with the Saints, speculation on who will replace Reid has already begun. And it will only intensify if the teams falls to 3-5.

My feeling is that Payton is still likely to return to New Orleans, but as others have pointed out, it doesn’t appear to be a lock.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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