While the LA Chargers have battled through all of their trials and tribulations this season, there has been one man that has loomed large over the entire franchise — Sean Payton.
Prior to the 2022 season, there was speculation that the future Hall of Fame head coach was eyeballing the Chargers in case there was a head coach opening. At the time, Brandon Staley's job security was locked-tight, so it was easy to brush off.
However, even though the team has dealt with more injuries than anyone else in the league and still has a .500 record, fans have quickly grown tired of Staley. The defense has not improved at all and the Chargers have only beaten teams under .500. This has led the fanbase to yearn for Payton to be the next head coach of the Bolts.
Well, it appears that the Chargers may have newfound competition in the Payton sweepstakes. Another west coast team could be looking for a new head coach after this season that Payton is potentially interested in.
Kliff Kingsbury's seat is much hotter than Brandon Staley's and the Cardinals definitely are a team that would jump at the chance to trade a pick to get Payton in the building. With a conservative ownership group, the Chargers may not be as desperate to make the same moves as the Cardinals would.
The Chargers are still a far better job for Sean Payton.
Of course, if the Chargers do not want to trade anything for Payton or don't fire Staley at all then Payton is going to have to coach wherever he has interest. That being said, if it really came down to it and Payton had his choice it would be the Chargers almost every time.
Justin Herbert is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and is certainly better than Kyler Murray. There is a lot of talent around Herbert as well while the Cardinals have bigger holes on their roster that they have to deal with.
Payton would be joining his good friend Joe Lombardi in Los Angeles and would likely get some control over the roster decisions, which we know is something that he wants. If Brandon Staley gets hired then Tom Telesco is 100% going to go with him. Without a GM, Payton can be in charge of personnel decisions in Los Angeles.
The Chargers are definitely Payton's dream job at this point in his career and it all depends on whether or not the team fires Staley and whether or not they even want to pursue Payton. If they do, it won't matter who the competition is. The Chargers are the best job available.