NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Saints will hire Dallas
Cowboys assistant Sean Payton to his first NFL head coaching job, sources close the Saints and Cowboys told ESPN's John Clayton.
The Saints have called a 1 p.m. ET news conference to announce the hiring of the franchise's 14th head coach.
Payton has been a quarterbacks coach for three seasons under
Bill Parcells in Dallas. He also held the title of assistant head
coach. Before that, he was a New York Giants assistant, a stint
that included that team's NFC Championship in 2000.
Payton was one of five candidates interviewed by the Saints at
the team's headquarters last week. The others were Jets defensive
coordinator Donnie Henderson, Cleveland Browns offensive
coordinator Maurice Carthon, former Green Bay head coach Mike
Sherman and former St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz.
Payton will succeed Jim Haslett, whose tenure lasted six years.
The Saints were 3-13 in 2005, a season in which all of their
"home" games were played on the road because of Hurricane
Katrina. The Saints were a .500 team during Haslett's first five
Payton has said the Saints' poor showing in 2005 did not deter
him from seeking the job.
"It's hard to look at their talent now compared to their record
with all of the circumstances and things that they've gone
through," Payton said last week. "It's a team that's certainly
shown that they can be competitive and I would look forward to that
Payton's background as a quarterbacks coach -- he also had a very
brief pro playing career at that position in the CFL and as a
Chicago Bears replacement player in the 1987 strike season -- could
serve him well in New Orleans, which is expected to draft a
quarterback with the second overall pick in the NFL draft.
Aaron Brooks, the Saints' starter for most of the past six
seasons, had his worst season in 2005 and was benched for the final
three games. If the Saints keep Brooks they would owe him about
$6.5 million in salary next season.
When Payton interviewed for the job, he declined to comment on
whether he thought Brooks should stay or go, but he did say that
the Saints asked him about developing a quarterback.
"We talked about that," Payton said. "I enjoy coaching that
position. I enjoy being involved in the offense. I would certainly
look forward to being involved with that development."
Payton could not be reached at the Dallas Cowboys' headquarters
on Tuesday evening.
This is the first coach hired by current general manager Mickey
Loomis, who was promoted after team owner Tom Benson fired Randy
Mueller in 2002. Mueller, now the Miami Dolphins' GM, hired
Payton is the second straight coach hired by the Saints with no
head coaching experience. It worked well early last time as Haslett
took the Saints to the franchise's first playoff victory in his
first season. But New Orleans has missed the playoffs in the five
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.