Saints seeking two first-round draft picks for Sean Payton: Report

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What will it cost to get Sean Payton out of his contract with the Saints?

According to Payton himself, the expectation is that the Saints will be seeking a first-round draft pick, perhaps in the middle or late portion of the round.

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But a new report suggests it could be more -- perhaps twice as much.

On Wednesday, Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com reported that Saints general manager Mickey Looms is coveting a package in the ballpark of what the then-Oakland Raiders received from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for head coach Jon Gruden in 2002 -- a haul that included not one but two first-round draft picks, as well as two second-rounders -- as "the starting point."

According to Duncan, Payton is though to be seeking a salary in the neighborhood of $20-25 million annually, which is roughly half of what star quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson secured after being acquired by the Broncos and Browns, respectively, via trade.

Those blockbuster trades also included a boatload of draft picks, and Duncan calculates that Loomis will be looking to recoup roughly half the value of those draft picks in a potential Payton swap.

Per Duncan:

Loomis' stance is if a team is willing to pay Payton a deal worth roughly half that of a franchise quarterback, then the draft pick compensation should be of equivalent value.

With Payton under contract with the Saints through the 2024 season, Loomis "holds the cards," Duncan writes. If a potential suitor doesn't meet the Saints' asking price, the team could simply walk away from a deal.

Already this offseason, Payton has been linked to several head coaching openings. He has interviewed with the Texans and Broncos, with additional meeting scheduled with the Panthers, while the Cardinals have asked permission to meet with him.

In the meantime, the 59-year-old spent this season as a studio analyst with FOX NFL Sunday, a role he could reprise next season if he's not back on the sidelines.

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