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Sean Payton Steps Away From Saints; Could the Bears Bring Him In?

Could a last-minute pivot be in the works at Halas Hall?

Sean Payton Bears Saints Head Coach
Photo: Saints/Twitter

Shortly after the Chicago Bears reportedly hired Ryan Poles as their new GM, an intriguing development occurred on the head coaching front. Saints head coach Sean Payton has told the team he is stepping away from the organization, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport.

Another report indicates Payton is retiring. Regardless of what the official designation is, the Bears should at least make a call to evaluate if Payton would possibly be willing to come to Chicago.

Sean Payton’s Resume

The 58-year-old has served as the Saints’ head coach since 2006. In his first year on the job, Payton earned AP Coach of the Year honors. In 2009, he coached the Saints to a Super Bowl victory. His vast experience alone makes him a desirable candidate for the Bears’ head coaching gig.

Sean Payton also has developed a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback before in Drew Brees. Justin Fields is the centerpiece of the Chicago Bears and the new coach will need to have a strong plan in place regarding Fields’ development.

Payton also has ties to Illinois and the Chicago area. He attended Naperville Central High School and went to college at Eastern Illinois. He was also on the Bears roster briefly in 1987.

While the McCaskeys — and now Ryan Poles — may already have a few coaches in mind, Payton is worthy of a call. If Payton is still interested in coaching, coming to Chicago would give him a Bears roster that has a quarterback ripe with potential and several defensive pieces that can serve as building blocks or trade chips.

There is an interesting catch regarding Sean Payton, however. He is under contract with the Saints through 2024. If the Bears were to bring him into the fold, they would have to make a trade to compensate New Orleans.

A Similar Story in Chicago

In April 2020, the Chicago Bulls hired Arturas Karnisovas as Executive VP of Basketball Operations and had a list of head coach candidates in place. Billy Donovan became available later in the process, and Karnisovas jumped at the opportunity. Now, the Bulls are sitting near the top of the Eastern Conference.

The Bears’ current situation is similar. Just one day before the reported hiring of Ryan Poles as general manager, the team had a list of three head coaching finalists. Could a last-minute pivot be in the works at Halas Hall? Only time will tell, but the timing of today’s NFL bombshell reports certainly piques one’s interest.

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