NFL insider pegs Miami Dolphins as ‘wild card’ to pursue Sean Payton

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Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL offseason approaching, it won’t be long before lots of dominoes start to fall in the coaching carousel. Sean Payton certainly seems like a name to watch around the league, and NFL insider Albert Breer thinks of the Miami Dolphins as a “wild card” for the 59-year-old.

Of course, if the Dolphins were to hire Payton, it would certainly mark the end of Mike McDaniel’s time with Miami. That may seem like a ridiculous thought to many, and Breer also seems to think that the first-year head coach isn’t going anywhere.

But if something unforeseen happens, Payton may be someone to keep an eye on.

“The wild card for Payton, to me, would be Miami,” wrote Breer. “Outkick’s Armando Salguero, who’s been around the Dolphins for decades, reported Thursday that first-year coach Mike McDaniel may not be safe if Sunday’s game against the [New York] Jets goes the wrong way. I hadn’t heard that. And, honestly, the only way I could see that is if someone such as Payton—who Miami offered a four-year, $100 million deal to last year—is the endgame. Otherwise, I think McDaniel sticks, probably with changes to his defensive staff.”

In his first season at the helm of the Dolphins, McDaniel has his squad sitting at 8-8 heading into the final weekend of the regular season. The team is still alive for a playoff berth, but it’s going to need some help in order for that goal to become a reality.

That’s certainly a disappointing truth given the fact that Miami looked like a legitimate Super Bowl contender earlier this season. The team was 8-3 at one point but has lost five in a row to fall to .500.

The injury bug hasn’t been kind to the Dolphins at all, which is perhaps the biggest reason why firing McDaniel after one season would be a stunning move to many. But regardless of injuries, it would be hard to spin Miami’s season as a success if the team missed the playoffs once again.

As a head coach, Payton has a career record of 152-89 in the regular season and 9-8 in the playoffs. He’s a one-time Super Bowl champion. It’ll be interesting to see if any other rumors connect him to the Dolphins in the near future.

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Jason is excited to cover the Miami Dolphins. He is a sports writer who has followed the NFL for over a decade.