Dolphins can’t escape Sean Payton talk leads to questions about McDaniel

Sean Payton(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Sean Payton(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

The Miami Dolphins are ready to start their 2022 season in just over a week’s time but that doesn’t seem to deter the talk about Sean Payton.

It doesn’t appear that Sean Payton wants to stay out of coaching, he just doesn’t want to stay in New Orleans. We all know or have heard about the $100 million rumor offered by Stephen Ross to hire Payton away from the Saints but apparently, the story simply won’t go away.

Now, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Payton wants to coach for one of three teams potentially as early as 2023 and of course, the Miami Dolphins are one of those teams.

Jackson’s article is behind a paywall but some of what he is saying has been talked about by other news sources linking back to his article. You can read that article below by following the Twitter link.

Jackson is a pretty reliable source and while I can’t discuss what he said in his article, because I don’t subscribe, I can look at this in terms of what it might mean for Mike McDaniel.

McDaniel is a first-time head coach and while he may fail at times during this season, he could very well be one and done if Miami can’t show signs that everything is heading in the right direction. Why? Because Stephen Ross is not getting any younger and wants to win a Super Bowl. At this point, he may just be satisfied to get to the Super Bowl, or even deep into the postseason.

At every step of his ownership, Ross has been thwarted. He lost on Jeff Fisher, lost on Peyton Manning, apparently lost on adding Tom Brady, and has made poor decisions with his coaching hires including a Tony Sparano extension, Joe Philbin, and Adam Gase to say nothing of the problems with Brian Flores.

McDaniel is doing everything that Ross could hope for in a new head coach but he has yet to win a game yet and until he wins, multiple times, there will be an invisible leash on his career.

Jackson does cite that Payton would coach for three teams with the others being the Cowboys and Chargers but Miami would throw everything they had to lure Payton to Miami and it is not the first time that we have heard speculation that Payton may actually want the job.

Sean Payton
Stephen Ross,Maimi Dolphins Vs Los Angeles Chargers /

Of course, to get Payton two things would need to happen. One, Ross would have to fire McDaniel, and two, the Saints will have to give Miami permission to talk with Payton and then agree upon trade compensation. That comp could be a first-round pick.

This isn’t a fair thing for McDaniel to go through but let’s be realistic here, the NFL is hardly a fair business and Ross has made decisions in the past that drew questions. Will he actually consider firing McDaniel after one season? What if McDaniel wins 9 games but misses the playoffs? What if wins 10 games and misses the playoffs?

Is there a number of wins that would persuade Ross to stick with McDaniel even if the big carrot was being dangled in front of him?

I have been covering this team for 15 years, for some of you, 15 years too long. I have watched coaching decisions blow up and ownership make strange choices. I have spoken with every general manager from Randy Mueller to Chris Grier and I can tell you that winning is at the front of Ross’ mind.

Is it something that he will summarily dismiss, McDaniel that is? No, there is a lot to like about what McDaniel could bring to the team and if he can show his abilities to lead, there is a future for him in Miami but if anyone believes that McDaniel is safe without consequence, they need to think again.

Sean Payton
Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Firing Mike McDaniel would create a potentially disastrous situation with the Miami Dolphins.

Consider this, Payton doesn’t want to take another coach’s job so a vacancy must exist. That would mean the Dolphins would need to fire McDaniel before they attempt to hire Payton. We have seen this rodeo before and it didn’t work out for Tony Sparano.

Will see a repeat next season? Not likely. Ross, if he wants Payton would fire McDaniel first but what would happen if Payton opted to join the Cowboys or Charger or another team instead? It would put Ross in a position that would make it nearly impossible to fill a vacant HC position with anyone with actual qualifications. It could result in a Dennis Hickey situation all over again.

What happens after this season will happen but for now, Mike McDaniel will try and lead this team to the postseason, to turn it around, to make doubters, believers. Personally, I don’t think Ross will go after Payton in 2023 unless 2022 is a total washout. In that case, I think he will put all of his efforts into bringing Payton to Miami but I also think that there is a lot of room for McDaniel to fail and stick around. It would have to be really ugly, Cam Cameron type ugly.

One thing is for certain, the Payton stuff isn’t going to go away until he is back in the league, somewhere other than Miami. Of course, it won’t matter anyway because the Dolphins are going to win games in 2022.