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NBA Star Anthony Davis Blocked Sean Payton To Cowboys in 2019?

Report: Cowboys had deal in place to bring Saints coach to Dallas

The Sean Payton-Dallas Cowboys marriage that appears possible today nearly happened three short years ago.

At least according to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio. In an except from the NBC Sports Sunday night contributor’s new book Playmakers: How the NFL Really Works (And Doesn’t), Florio details the deal that nearly got done between the Cowboys and New Orleans Saints coach after the 2019 playoffs.

The year was 2019. The month, January. The Cowboys had won 10 of 16 games, along with a wild-card contest against the Seahawks. They lost to the Rams in the divisional round, 30-22. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones contemplated an upgrade from coach Jason Garrett to Sean Payton. Jones wanted to pull the trigger. Payton did, too.

Things unfolded quickly. The Saints had played in the NFC Championship, losing to the Rams on January 20. That week, Jones quietly made his move.

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It was a delicate situation, for various reasons. First, the Cowboys had a coach. Jones wouldn’t have fired Garrett unless he knew he could have gotten Payton. Second, league rules (specifically, the Rooney Rule) require a diverse and inclusive search. Third, Jones had to ultimately know that, after going through the motions of a search, he’d be able to get Payton.

So a deal was worked out, behind the scenes. The Saints would have allowed the Cowboys to hire Payton. The Cowboys would have compensated the Saints for the rights to Payton’s contract. And Payton would have signed a new contract with the Cowboys.

So what got in the way? Saints owner Gayle Benson decided against letting Payton go when Anthony Davis of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans demanded a trade. Benson, also owner of the Pels, wasn’t about to lose two Louisiana sports heroes at the same time.

That ended it, just like that. The Saints were no longer interested in essentially trading Payton to the Cowboys. In September, Payton signed a new contract. That deal has three years left on it.

Payton is rumored to go the TV route in retirement and the Cowboys currently have coach Mike McCarthy. But they had Garrett then, so perhaps Jones makes another run at the former Cowboys assistant and Super Bowl winner.

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