It seems like we’re doing this once again. There’s clear uncertainty surrounding the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff following a Wild Card loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Pair that with a report on Sean Payton not being committed to return to the New Orleans Saints and you get yourself a fan base speculating about a potential reunion. It’s not the first time we’re down this road.

At this point, it’s difficult to buy into any of these rumors.

Ian Rapoport from NFL Network reported Payton hasn’t committed to returning to coach the Saints for 2022 yet.

“Sources say that Payton, who has three years left on his contract, has not committed to returning to coach for another season in New Orleans. He has not yet informed the organization for whom he’s coached since 2006 that he will definitely return.” – Ian Rapoport on NFL.com

In the meantime, the Dallas Cowboys are undergoing turmoil in their own coaching staff. Kellen Moore and Dan Quinn continue their interview tour while a frustrated Jerry Jones hasn’t publicly committed to McCarthy.

Considering Payton’s history with the Cowboys, it would make sense to imagine Jerry Jones has, at the very least, thought about a potential reunion.

But once again, we’ve heard this before, we’ve been here before.

In 2019, one year before the firing of Jason Garrett, rumors tying the Cowboys and Payton were at an all-time high. It was a matter of time until the Saints signed the Super Bowl-winning head coach to a five-year contract extension.

With plenty of coaching vacancies around the NFL, how likely are we to hear about Sean Payton signing an extension with the Saints in the upcoming months? Wouldn’t it make sense for this to be just a leverage conversation?

Payton is under contract through 2024 but according to the report, he could consider a “mini-retirement” of one season. That means he’s unlikely to coach any other team in 2022 but could come back after 2023.

It’s fair to point out, this time around the move would make more sense given the bleak picture of the Saints’ short-term future. They’re over $74M over the cap (yes, you read that right) and have no clear answer at QB.

If you want to buy into the rumors, it feels like that would be the case to back it up.

I remain skeptical about him re-joining the Dallas Cowboys. Who knows what will happen with McCarthy’s coaching staff, but I’m leaning toward this whole conversation being nothing but a leverage opportunity for Payton to cash in.

Featured image via Danielle Parhizkaran / USA TODAY NETWORK