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Sean Payton was approached by bidders for the Washington Commanders about coaching if they buy the team

Behind the scenes moves

Denver Broncos Introduce Sean Payton as Head Coach Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Sean Payton retired from coaching in the NFL two years ago, and has been working for FOX as an analyst. This year's head coach hiring cycle brought him out of retirement, with the Denver Broncos making the big move in a trade with the New Orleans Saints. Denver traded a 2023 1st round pick and 2024 2nd for Payton and a 2024 3rd. They are also reportedly paying him $18 million per year.

Washington doesn't have a head coaching opening, but they might if Dan Snyder sells the team this year. The first round of bids were submitted in December, but potential new owners aren't waiting to try to set up changes. Sean Payton appeared on Mad Dog Sports Radio with Adam Schein and had this to say:

"Everyone's waiting to see what happens in Washington. There's some interest from some potential ownership groups that are going to be bidding on, that have currently bid on that team, that were getting ahead of the game. Saying hey, if we get awarded this team, would you."

Payton went on to talk about the state of the Washington NFL franchise. He talked about a declining fanbase (under Dan Snyder) and seeing 1/3 of the stadium filled with Saints fans the last time he coached there. He also talked about his history of coaching in the NFC East, for every team except for Washington.

“That’s a place that’s had great tradition. Like, when I came into the league, Adam, my first two years were Philly. My next four years were New York Giants. And then my next three were the Cowboys. My whole entire NFL career prior to New Orleans was NFC East. And what happened to that program?”

“Listen, that place, my uncle loved the Washington franchise. Last year, we go there to play and pregame I’m looking up in the crowd. A third of the fans are Saints fans. And I’m like, what happened to this place? That was one of the six pillars. That was a special place. So it’ll come back.”

There have not been any reports about who has actually submitted a bid for the team, but it has been reported that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos hasn't. There have been reports and speculation about him jumping in later in the process as the potential purchase price becomes clearer. The highest expression of interest submitted so far is reportedly $6.3 billion, and owner Dan Snyder is said to be looking to get at least $7 billion from the sale.

New ownership will be free to make changes to the entire organization once the deal is finalized. That is expected by some people to happen after Sunday's Super Bowl, with the sale hopefully set to be finalized when the other 31 NFL ownership groups gather for their annual meeting March 26-29th.

There are still two teams looking for head coaches (Cardinals, Colts), but those jobs are expected to be filled next week. There will still be plenty of HC candidates out there if the new owners were dead set on moving on from Ron Rivera, but that doesn't seem like their most likely first move. A new front office and stripping Rivera of some power over personnel decisions while the new GM accesses the roster seems more likely. But we can't rule out a guy like Jeff Bezos coming in and cleaning house immediately.