Players recruiting each other to team up around professional sports leagues has become prevalent in recent years. It happens most often in the NBA, where high-profile players are deciding to play together in hopes of winning a championship, but you can be sure it occurs in the NFL as well. But, has there ever been an instance of a head coach and player teaming up together and joining a new franchise? Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton seemingly hinted at it recently when discussing the future of Baltimore Ravens quarterback, Lamar Jackson.
As Payton stated, he is currently a free agent, waiting for the right job to open up before jumping back into the head coaching ranks. Jackson’s rookie contract expires after this season, technically making him a free agent as well.
Could this be some long-term planning in place for Payton? There are already a few head coaching positions open as the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts both fired their head coaches this season. Matt Rhule was let go by Carolina after Week 5 and Frank Reich was relieved of his duties earlier this week after an embarrassing Colts loss to the New England Patriots in Week 9.
More jobs are likely to open as Payton will have his choice of where he wants to go. Given his track record, he will likely receive plenty of calls but will have the opportunity to handpick his next destination.
While he would seemingly love to bring Jackson along with him as his starting quarterback, his situation with the Ravens isn’t as cut and dry. Yes, his contract expires, but it would be shocking if Baltimore allowed him to leave as a free agent.
The Ravens can use the franchise tag on Jackson if a long-term deal is unable to be worked out. Using it a second time in 2024 is certainly a possibility as well, as Jackson would likely still be earning under market value playing under the tag based on the contracts that his peers have signed recently.
It would certainly be a lot of fun watching Jackson at the helm of a Payton-run offense. He is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL and Payton has been the head coach of some very explosive offenses during his time in the league.