HOUSTON – The Texans have requested an interview with former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, according to league sources.
Payton, 59, has also been requested for interviews by the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals. Payton, who went 152-89 with the Saints and won a Super Bowl before retiring to become an NFL analyst for Fox, can’t officially interview until Jan. 17.
Because Payton is under contract with the Saints through the 2024 season, it would require a trade to acquire his services to compensate the NFC South franchise. That would require collaboration between Payton, the new NFL employer, the Saints and his longtime agent, Don Yee. It could require parting with a first-round draft pick to land him, and the Texans have the second overall pick and the 12th overall pick of the draft.
When Bill Parcells left the New England Patriots to join the New York Jets, they were compensated with a first-round pick, second-round pick and second-round and third-round draft picks.
When Mike Holmgren left the Green Bay Packers to join the Seattle Seahawks, it cost them a second-round pick.
When Bill Belichick left the Jets to join the Patriots in an AFC East swap, the Jets got a first-round pick, fourth-round pick and seventh-round pick as New England got the eventual six-time Super Bowl winning coach and a fifth-round pick and seventh-round pick.
When Jon Gruden joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to leave the Raiders, Oakland got two first-round draft picks and two second-round draft picks in addition to $8 million to be paid over three years.
Herm Edwards cost the Jets a fourth-round draft pick sent to the Kansas City Chiefs. And the Arizona Cardinals got sixth-round and seventh-round picks for Bruce Arians when he ended his retirement to join Tampa Bay.
“I still have a vision for doing things in football,” Payton said when he retired from the Saints. “I’ll be honest with you, that might be coaching again, at some point. I do not think it is this year. I think maybe in the future, but that’s not where my heart is right now.”
Payton won a Super Bowl in 2009 and has a 9-8 playoff record.
The Texans have also requested an interview with New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, according to a league source.
Kafka, 35, is in the mold of a younger offensive coach that’s been popular in recent hiring cycles, including the Philadelphia Eagles’ Nick Sirianni. He has also been requested for an interview by the Carolina Panthers.
Kafka follows previous requests from the Texans for potential replacements for coach Lovie Smith, who was fired Sunday night after a 3-13-1 season. They have also requested interviews with Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, regarded by many around the league as a leading candidate for the AFC South franchise after interviewing twice, Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, a former Texans linebacker, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, according to league sources.
Kakfa, a former Eagles backup quarterback, worked for Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid as a passing game coordinator, quarterbacks coach and offensive quality control coach.
He was hired by Brian Daboll as his play-caller despite not having worked together in the past.
The Giants finished 15th in total offense, averaging 21.5 points per game, and quarterback Daniel Jones had a resurgent season.
‘In the end, it’s a leadership position,” Texans general manager Nick Caserio said during a Monday night press conference at NRG Stadium. “The head coach’s responsibility is to consistently, continually message the players, create belief, create a vision for the team, work in concert with as many people that are in the building. My role is a supplementary role to be as big and as much of a resource as possible. It has to be a collaborative effort, and it will be a collaborative effort.
“Everybody has different strengths, everybody has qualities, everybody has areas that they’re more accomplished than others. In the end, we have to figure out what’s the best thing for the Houston Texans at this present time, what’s the best for our situation, what’s the best for our building, what’s the best for our coaches, what’s the best for our players.”
Aaron Wilson is a contributor to KPRC 2 and click2houston.com