While the Chicago Bears list of potential head coach candidates to replace Matt Nagy has been extensive, the list has been criticized for lacking the potential home run hire as it was littered with retread candidates that either failed during their first head coaching run; haven’t been in the NFL; or, coordinators that have a connection to consultant Bill Polian.
The early pipedream candidate for the Bears’ head coaching vacancy was University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. If the former Bears’ quarterback was ever going to leave the University of Michigan and return to the coaching ranks of the NFL, common speculation was that it would be with the Bears. Despite that speculation, Harbaugh has never been considered to be a legitimate candidate to next head coach of the Bears. Harbaugh has continued his recruiting tour for the University of Michigan while the Bears have moved on to their second round of head coaching interviews with prospective candidates.
One candidate that has not been directly linked to the Bears’ opening but has drawn speculation is New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. Payton’s future with the Saints appears to be uncertain after team owner Gayle Benson appeared to have confirmed that the head coach has not decided his 2022 plans as of yet.
"Benson, who was speaking at a Mardi Gras-related event, responded to a question about Payton’s status by saying, “We don’t know. You know, who knows? We’ll find out soon enough, I guess.”"
Sean Payton would have been a home run hire as the next head coach of the Chicago Bears but the idea of that happening should only be considered in Madden and not reality.
Payton’s uncertainty with the Saints has led to speculation that teams in a need of a head coach may reach out to the Saints regarding a potential trade. Apparently, the Bears were one of those teams. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated was a guest on the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday, and during his appearance, Breer confirmed that the Bears reached out to the Saints regarding a potential trade. Breer, however, continued his reporting by mentioning that the talks were quickly dismissed after Payton expressed no interest in becoming the Bears’ next head coach.
Payton should never have been considered as an actual candidate for the Bears’ head coaching vacancy. The reason why is because the Bears fired Ryan Pace as their general manager. If Pace was still in place as the team’s general manager, then chances are that Payton would have interest in the Bears’ head coaching opening. Pace and Payton worked together in the Saints’ organization prior to Pace becoming the Bears’ general manager in 2015.
What is encouraging is that the Bears, at least, made an inquiry into the possibility of acquiring Payton. That would appear to suggest that the Bears have left no stone unturned in their search for their next head coach.