Rumors have been swirling for the last week regarding the future of New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.

At first, it wasn't surprising.

There have been multiple occasions in the past of NFL pundits speculating on whether Payton would leave the Saints to coach the Dallas Cowboys, or perhaps another team.

Each time, the rumors turned out to be unsubstantiated.

Is this year different?

NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport dropped a story Sunday morning regarding Payton's future.

This year's rumors are different than past ones in that the speculation isn't Payton leaving New Orleans to coach a different franchise in 2022, but rather, leaving coaching for a season and either veg out or work in TV.

The latest 'Sunday Splash' report leaves a lot to unpack.

Payton's current contract in New Orleans runs through the 2026 season, making $9 million annually (3rd most among current NFL head coaches).

As Rapoport explains, if Payton took a year off from coaching and decided to return, it would most certainly end his tenure in New Orleans, and his next job would be with a different team.

Payton loves control as a head coach, and he's got all of it in New Orleans. Most NFL coaches aren't afforded the autonomy Payton has earned with the Saints, or work for an owner who would not allow it.

It's this reason I have been of the opinion Payton would not leave the Saints for another head coaching job.

However, if he were to take time off or work in television, a potential return to coaching would be a realistic path out of New Orleans for the winningest coach in franchise history.

Some fans and reporters believe there could be fire to the latest smoke surrounding Payton.

Others don't seem too concerned.

How about fans of other teams?

Could Payton's silence be a ploy to earn a raise?

As Rapoport writes, no one knows what Payton is going to do next. At this point, it's all speculation.

Share yours.

Where do you think Sean Payton will be when the 2022 NFL season kicks off?

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