Sean Payton is a popular man these days. The former Saints head coach is mulling a return to the NFL in 2023 and clubs are starting to line up for his services. Already the Denver Broncos have made their intentions of wooing Payton known and now two more teams are in the mix. 

NFL Media reports that the Arizona Cardinals have been granted permission to speak with Payton about their head coaching vacancy after firing Kliff Kingsbury earlier this week. Arizona is in the midst of a seismic shake-up after firing Kingsbury and seeing GM Steve Keim step down from his role due to health reasons. A veteran coach like Payton would be a welcome sight to an organization that is looking to contend sooner rather than later, especially after inking Kyler Murray to a massive contract extension just prior to the start of the season. 

Meanwhile, the Houston Texans have also requested permission to interview Payton for their head coaching job in the aftermath of firing Lovie Smith, per Fox Sports. Unlike Denver and Arizona, the Texans are a bit more of a blank page and have no franchise quarterback already established. However, the club does have the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, so that destination could be attractive if Payton has his eyes on any of the quarterback prospects set to come out this spring. 

Teams cannot formally interview Payton until Jan. 17, so there are still a few days for these clubs to get their pitches lined up along with other teams to possibly enter the conversation. Of course, whatever team ultimately strikes a deal with Payton for him to become their next head coach would then need to have a discussion with the New Orleans Saints as it relates to compensation as the franchise still holds his rights. 

According to CBS Sports Senior NFL Insider Jonathan Jones, nearly every executive he polled estimated that it would cost at least a first-round pick to get Payton. For those wondering: the last coaching trade occurred back in 2006 when the Jets sent a fourth-round pick to the Chiefs for Herm Edwards. 

Before stepping down after last season, Payton had been in New Orleans dating to 2013. He is 152-89 as a head coach in the regular season and 9-8 in the playoffs, which includes a Super Bowl XLIV victory.

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