Who Will Be the Next New Orleans Saints Coach?

Who Will Be the Next New Orleans Saints Coach?
© USA Today

After 16 seasons as the head coach of the New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton has stepped down.

After only one full season since their legendary and future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback, Drew Brees, retired, Saints fans can see their teams’ best years are behind them.

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No franchise in the NFL had been more dependent upon the head coach and quarterback than the Saints – not even the New England Patriots.

Who Are the Favorites to Get Saints Coaching Job?

With Louisiana sports betting going live on Friday, you can bet on who you thing will get the job. Let's look at the favorites.

The Saints organization must navigate through the current murky waters they find themselves in right now. Nine NFL teams are looking for a coach as the Saints join the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Las Vegas Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, and the Houston Texans.

The most obvious candidate is current defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, who does have a little more than two years of head coaching experience. He landed the Oakland Raiders job back in 2011 and went 4-12 in each of his first two seasons before being fired after an 0-4 start to the 2014 season. So, given that experience with the Raiders it is quite possible he wants to remain a coordinator.

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Under the Rooney rule, even if the Saints hired Allen from within the organization, they would still have to interview at least two minority candidates. Besides Allen, other names that have popped up include Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and former Eagles coach Doug Pederson.

These men are all great solid candidates, but there is no way any of them can successfully fill the shoes of the departing Payton and then successfully fix all of the gaping holes in the starting lineups and depth charts on both sides of the ball.

Presuming that Allen wants to remain in his comfort zone as a now-successful defensive coordinator, Glenn might be the most likely candidate to talk to the Saints. He did work for Payton as the defensive backs coach from 2016-20 before leaving for the Detroit job.

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Pederson won a Super Bowl for the Philadelphia Eagles, but whether he is the right man to oversee the massive Saints rebuild is a complete unknown. Perhaps, Pederson does not want to be part of a rebuild and instead might look to lead a team with many of the playoff-contending pieces already in place, like the Miami Dolphins.

Joseph arguably has the most experience of any of the candidates, having started in 2005 with the San Francisco 49ers as an assistant defensive backs coach, then worked for the Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals before landing his first NFL head coaching position with the Denver Broncos in 2017. He went 11-21 in two years with the Broncos and has been the Arizona Cardinals DC for the past three seasons.

Leftwich is a good fit for the Saints, but the calling price would be high for him to leave his current luxurious position as the Tampa Bay Bucs offensive coordinator. The pivot in his decision-making centers on if Tom Brady will return at age 45 for the final season of his contract. You can bet that if Leftwich leaves the Bucs for any other coaching job, it is more likely than ever we may have seen the last of the G.O.A.T on the field of play.

Issues Facing the New Saints coach

Whoever gets the Saints’ job will have to come up with a three-to-five-year plan to rebuild the team and be willing to suffer through some difficult losing seasons. There are many Saints free agents now being targeted by other NFL franchises, like the NFC South rival Atlanta Falcons.

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The Saints are dealing with a complex salary cap situation and it only makes sense for them to unload the core assets from the Payton era, so that the new coach has the opportunity to build his team.

There has been talk the Lions would love to have Saints safety Marcus Williams, who has ties to Glenn. Williams would be a major upgrade over their current starters.

The Saints defense was solid this season and inside-linebacker Kwon Alexander is high on many NFL teams’ wish lists. The Saints will likely lose him to the free agency market given their salary cap problems.

These two examples are only the beginning of the complexity involved for any head coach to rebuild the Saints to a perennial playoff and Super Bowl-contending team.

Early NFL betting odds have Allen in the lead, but I'm not so sure.



Odds For the Next New Orleans Saints Coach

CandidateCurrent/Last Job Odds
Dennis AllenSaints DC+150
Eric BieniemyChiefs OC+400
Aaron GlennLions DC+550
Joe LombardiChargers OC+650
Vance JoesphCardinals DC+700
Brian FloresEx-Dolphins Coach+700
Brian DabollBills OC+800
Kellen MooreCowboys OC+850
Mike McDaniel49ers OC+900
Kevin O'ConnellRams OC+1000
Todd BowlesBuccaneers DC+1200
Doug PedersonEx-Eagles Coach+1300
Jonathan GannonEagles DC+1500
Jerod MayoPanthers LB Coach+2000
Demeco Ryans49ers DC+2000
Leslie FrazierBills DC+2500
Doug MarroneEx-Jaguars Coach+2500
Jim HarbaughU of Michigan Coach+4000

NOTE: (These odds are currently available at DraftKings in Arizona, Illinois, Colorado and Wyoming and were accurate as of publication.)

Our Pick to Be the Next Saints Coach

My lean is for Aaron Glenn to be offered the head coaching position of the New Orleans Saints.

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