Sean Payton is ending his tenure as the New Orleans Saints head coach. That doesn’t mean his career in the league is over.

According to reports, Payton is not retiring from the NFL, despite his decision to step away from New Orleans. Payton will leave the Saints after spending 16 years as the team’s head coach.

The news comes one day after Saints owner Gayle Benson told reporters that she didn’t know if Payton would be back for the 2022 NFL season.

Payton’s departure has ignited speculation about where he might coach in the future. There is a belief that the 58-year-old might eventually become the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, for whom he was the assistant head coach from 2003-2005.

Even before Payton decided to leave the Saints, there was speculation that the Cowboys might look for a new head coach soon. Mike McCarthy could find himself on the hot seat after Dallas was upset in the wild-card round of the playoffs by the San Francisco 49ers.

Only Bill Belichick and Andy Reid have had more success than Payton during his tenure in New Orleans. Payton had a 152-89 record in New Orleans with nine playoff appearances and one Super Bowl championship.

The Saints missed the playoffs this season but still managed to post a winning record, despite Drew Brees’ retirement and a season-ending injury to Jameis Winston. New Orleans won the NFC South in every season from 2017-2020.

Payton leaves New Orleans as the Saints are projected to be further over the cap than any other NFL team in the offseason.

Sean Payton
In this picture, Sean Payton reacts before the NFC Divisional Playoff against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, Jan. 13, 2019. Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images