When Sean Payton made the decision to leave coaching around this time last year, there was always a chance that he may come back.

Whatever the date of his return, a number of NFL teams want to determine Payton’s interest in leading their individual teams.

The Carolina Panthers are the newest team to enter the Sean Payton competition, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

After the Panthers started the season 1-4, Matt Rhule was let go, and Steve Wilks, who had been Rhule’s defensive backs coach, assumed the role on an interim basis. Tampa Bay Buccaneers won one more game than Carolina (7-10) in the NFC South.

The Panthers have been linked to other coaches when their season ended before Payton. Among the people who have reportedly spoken to the squad about coaching them are Jim Harbaugh, the head coach of Michigan, and Frank Reich, a former coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

It’s not like Payton is short on takers, though. As Schefter noted on Twitter, Carolina is a team that is interested in signing Payton, along with the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, and Arizona Cardinals.

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One fact that must not be overlooked is the fact that Payton is not technically a free agent. He is still bound to the New Orleans Saints by his contract.

 Sean Payton

As a result, any team that wants to hire Payton will have to make a trade with the Saints in exchange for compensation, and it stands to reason that they will demand a hefty sum to part ways with Payton.

Carolina is in the Saints’ division, and it would be difficult to fathom the Saints sending their coach to a rival. This is another disadvantage. Despite everything, it doesn’t seem like the Panthers are concerned.

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