Sean McVay ‘Wants to Be Here NOW’; Could Coach Payton Want Rams Later?

For now, coach Sean McVay and the Rams will try to play spoiler in Week 18 against the playoff-hopeful Seahawks. But tomorrow or soon after? The concept of swapping a Sean McVay for a Sean Payton.

Sean McVay recently said the invitations to leave the sideline to work in TV are “flattering,” adding, “I want to be here right now, focus on (coaching the Los Angeles Rams), and that’s where I’m at.”

Right now?

“Now” is fleeting.

So, as McVay flirts once again with the idea of jumping off the Coaching Carousel – ESPN is reporting that his future is “in-limbo,” which sounds like a soft way to frame his possible resignation – could the Rams recovery quickly by simply swapping one Sean for another this offseason?

We know former New Orleans Saints coach Payton has become a bit of a “SoCal guy” as he’s working himself as a TV analyst living in Los Angeles. We also know the other team stationed in his new-found home, the Chargers, are playoff-bound, so there’s not a likely opening coming there.

Payton visiting with the Denver Broncos? Yes, and likely elsewhere, too, with those nasty Dallas Cowboys rumors always floating up.

Payton reviving the Rams? Maybe. In 16 seasons with the Saints as head coach, Payton helped guide the team to seven division titles, three NFC Championship games (2006, 2009, and 2018) and a victory in Super Bowl XLIV. Following the 2021 NFL season, Payton announced his retirement from the NFL, finishing his tenure in New Orleans with an overall record of 161–97 and as the winningest coach in franchise history.

McVay has enjoyed a great deal of success since taking the reins of the franchise in 2017. In addition to earning Coach of the Year honors in his first season with the club, he also led the Rams to a berth in Super Bowl LIII in just his second season. In 2021, he became the youngest head coach (at 36 years of age) to win a Super Bowl with Los Angeles’ 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

McVay was nearly lured away from the sidelines and into the broadcast booth during the offseason. Amazon reportedly offered him up to $100 million to join their “Thursday Night Football” broadcast. He ultimately declined it, in favor of signing an extension with the Rams through 2026.

But the Rams are now finishing up their lost season, staff members are making changes (Liam Cohen is headed to the college ranks), and L.A. is short on draft picks with which to rebuild. 

That paucity of picks, by the way, is a Payton problem, as any team looking to hire him would need to trade with New Orleans to acquire his rights – and the Saints would surely want the sort of first-round-pick package that the Rams would struggle to offer.

For now, McVay and the Rams will try to play spoiler in Week 18 against the playoff-hopeful Seahawks. But tomorrow or soon after?

The concept of swapping a Sean for a Sean.

Follow Mike D’Abate on Twitter @mdabateNFL

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