The Miami Dolphins are rumored to be considering a big and unconventional move with talk of a trade for New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton to fill in for the fired Joe Philbin.
The Dolphins are reportedly among a handful of teams that have inquired with the Saints about Payton’s availability. The Saints coach has two years left on his contract, but there have been rumblings around the league that the team may be willing to part with him if the return is good enough.
The report first came from NFL insider Adam Schefter.
Multiple teams, including Miami, expected to inquire about Saints’ HC Sean Payton’s availability after this season, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 11, 2015
The Miami Dolphins rumors could make sense. The team languished for three years under Joe Philbin, failing to make the playoffs despite an increasingly talented roster. The team followed through last week, firing Philbin after a demoralizing loss to the New York Jets in London and a 1-3 start to the season. As Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported, the writing may have been on the wall for quite some time for Philbin.
“Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who fired head coach Joe Philbin last week after mulling doing so several times in the past, was insistent that Philbin remain in charge this offseason, which precluded making a switch in the winter. Mike Tannenbaum, who was formally brought in as Miami’s vice president of football operations right after the conclusion of the 2014 season, had long championed the hiring of Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, sources said, but any pursuit of him was rendered moot by the owner.”
Reports indicated that Philbin had lost control of the locker room, with stories of fighting and disorganization rampant throughout the team.
Joe Philbin’s last practice showed he had lost control http://t.co/Fk1GzRsfLC
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 6, 2015
There could be even more backing to the Miami Dolphins trade rumors. Payton has a connection to interim coach Dan Campbell, who was a tight end with the Dallas Cowboys when Payton was the team’s offensive coordinator. The two connected again in New Orleans, where Campbell’s playing career came to an end.
A trade for Sean Payton would certainly be shocking. Though teams are able to trade coaches, it is exceedingly rare and hasn’t happened since 2002, when the Oakland Raiders sent Jon Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for two first round picks and two second round picks.
Today, that price would likely be considered far too high, but it worked out for the Buccaneers. Gruden led the team to a Super Bowl win in his first year as coach, beating the Oakland Raiders.
It is not clear what the price might be this time if the Dolphins do intend to trade for Sean Payton, but it would be comparatively high. The Indianapolis Colts have reportedly inquired about Payton, as well; so, the Saints would be in a position to ask for a high price. It’s likely that either team would be giving up a first round pick, at the very least, and more likely a package of high picks.
Sean Payton has been on the decline in recent years in New Orleans. After leading the Saints to a 13-3 record in 2009 and a Super Bowl win, Payton has brought mixed results. The team went 7-9 last year and has started this season at 1-3, with signs that they are going into rebuilding mode.
The Miami Dolphins trade rumors could be fueled by their increasing desperation this season. A popular pick to make the playoffs, the team is already in a hole in the AFC East, which sports the surprising New York Jets and Buffalo Bills as well as the dominant New England Patriots. Three losses likely puts the Dolphins out of division title contention already with how well the Patriots are playing, and they would also be on the outside of the wild card picture looking in.
[Picture by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images]