The San Diego Chargers are rumored to be considering more than one big move, with a potential relocation to Los Angeles coming with a new head coach.
Sources say that New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton would be interested in moving to Los Angeles, and he already has connections to the area. His daughter goes to school in the Southern California area, and there could be an opening if the team fires coach Mike McCoy.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) December 27, 2015
— Bolts From The Blue (@BFTB_Chargers) December 27, 2015
The rumors would seem to make sense. Mike McCoy has presided over a disappointing season with the Chargers, with the team stumbling to a 4-11 record despite the third best offense in the league.
While McCoy has not addressed the rumors directly, he has spoken about trying to end the season on a high note.
McCoy explained the team’s goals for the last game of the season, via Raiders.com.
“You always want to finish strong regardless of where you’re playing, what your situation is, you want to finish the season strong. That was the big focus. Coming in to this game at home last week we said, ‘Hey listen, the season is what it is, but let’s finish this thing the right way.’ It started with the big win at home and this is the next one.
If the San Diego Chargers rumors are true, then the team will likely have to give up quite a bit to land Sean Payton. He is still under contract with the Saints, meaning the Chargers would have to swing a trade in order to land him (as long as the Saints don’t let him out of his contract).
It’s difficult to tell just how much that would cost, and there is little precedent for such a move. The last time a team traded for a coach was 2002, when the Oakland Raiders sent Jon Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two first-round picks and two second-round picks.
It’s likely that Sean Payton would fetch a big price, though it’s not exactly clear if it would be comparable to the 2002 trade.
And there could be some competition. There are rumors that both the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys had been interested in Payton as well, and it could end up in a bidding war.
The Cowboys could be serious contenders. Coach Jason Garrett is on the hot seat after turning a 12-4 season in 2014 into what could be a 4-12 finish this year. While much of this season was out of Garrett’s hands — with injuries to Tony Romo and Dez Bryant and the departure of DeMarco Murray — there are some who believe that Jerry Jones will make a play for Payton.
Steven Mullenax, Cowboys beat writer for the Fancied blog, The Landry Hat, noted that Jerry Jones has always been high on Payton and tried to bring him to Dallas in 2006.
“Firing Garrett after a 12-4 season seems like madness or possibly a rash decision. But don’t so easily forget the struggles that got the team to this point. Remember Garrett’s first three seasons at the helm of America’s Team. When you do, I believe you’ll see it’s the smart move to replace him in Dallas…but only if you can get someone better. And that person is current New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton.”
It may take a while to see how the San Diego Chargers rumors shake out. For one, the team would need to complete a move to Los Angeles for the scenario to play out, and that is still up in the air. They also have to hope that Sean Payton survives long enough for the move to be completed, and isn’t snatched up by Dallas or Miami, or some other team first.
[Picture by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images]