Sean Payton does see a scenario where he and Tom Brady are coworkers, but not as coach and quarterback.
It has long been rumored that the former Saints Super Bowl-winning coach and the seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback may join forces in 2023 after reportedly almost teaming up in Miami in 2022. Payton ultimately stayed out of coaching this past season, while Brady and the Buccaneers overcame a slow start to capture their second consecutive division crown.
"There's too many variables in that equation," Payton told NFL Network's Peter Schrager when asked if Brady will be his quarterback during his next coaching stop. "If we worked together ... I'm going to predict there's a good chance if we work together, it'll be with Fox."
Payton was alluding to Brady's deal to become Fox's lead analyst after his playing career comes to an end. Brady, however, has given no indication as of yet that he is planning to retire after this season. Some have assumed, based on Brady's previously-stated goal of playing at age 45, that he will retire after the season given that he has reached that milestone.
While it hasn't been his best season, Brady has continued to play at a high level. He enters this weekend as the NFL's leader in completions and attempts. He is 390 yards away from his second consecutive 5,000-yard passing season. Brady's 66.6 completion percentage this season is 2.3 percentage points higher than his career average.
Payton, who is currently working with Fox Sports, has not ruled out a return to coaching since stepping down as the Saints' coach last offseason. Payton, who is from and currently resides in Los Angeles, would reportedly prefer to coach one of the Hollywood-based teams: the Rams or Chargers.
Brady is reportedly considering all of his options for next season. While that may include a fourth season in Tampa, many assume Brady will play elsewhere should he return for a 24th season. The 49ers, Brady's childhood team, have been a popular pick when future Brady landing spots are discussed.
While they've never worked together, Brady and Payton are very familiar with one another. The two first met during Brady's rookie season when Payton was the Giants offensive coordinator when New York reached Super Bowl XXXV. The two have remained in touch over the years.
Both men have had careers that will surely land both of them in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Brady is generally regarded as the greatest quarterback -- and possibly the greatest player -- in NFL history. Payton, meanwhile, won 161 games over his 15-year career in New Orleans that included winning the franchise's first Super Bowl at the end of the 2009 season.