The Carolina Panthers reportedly are eyeing former NFC South rival Sean Payton to be their head coach in 2023.
Payton, 58, stepped down after 15 seasons as head coach of the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 25.
Citing sources, Front Office Sports reported Thursday that the Panthers are considering Payton to replace current head coach Matt Rhule.
Payton had three years remaining on his contract with the Saints when he announced his retirement.
The Panthers issued a statement denying the report.
“We would not talk to — or consider — a coach who’s under contract with another team,” the Panthers said.
Payton is expected to work in broadcasting during the 2022 season and is reportedly juggling offers from FOX Sports and Amazon.
Payton, who was suspended for the 2012 season over his role in the “Bountygate” scandal, compiled a 152-89 record in the regular season and a 9-8 mark in the playoffs with the Saints. He led New Orleans to a 31-17 victory against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
The Panthers are 10-23 in two seasons under Rhule, 47. The Panthers hired him before the 2020 season, signing him to a seven-year, $62 million deal and paying $6 million to buy him out of his contract at Baylor.