It’s the end of an era in New Orleans. On Tuesday, news came down that Sean Payton is stepping away as head coach of the Saints, ending his 15-year tenure that included a Super Bowl XLIV title. Rumors of this possibility had been floating around for quite a while, but New Orleans will now officially be looking for a new person to lead the franchise. Given that Payton has been considered one of the best coaches in the entire NFL over his run with the Saints and arguably the best play-caller in the league, this is a massive void that the organization now needs to fill. 

Who will take the baton from Payton? Below, you will find a handful of candidates who could make sense for New Orleans as it begins this new chapter in the franchise’s history.

Dennis Allen

Current position: New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator

In the aftermath of this Payton news, Allen has already been identified as a possible replacement for the Saints. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network even noted that he is considered the leading candidate for the job, so he certainly garners our attention. 

Allen first joined the Saints organization back in 2006 as an assistant defensive line coach and eventually ascended to secondary coach from 2008-2010. He departed the organization following that season to become the defensive coordinator for the Broncos in 2011, and then went on to become the head coach of the then-Oakland Raiders from 2012 to 2014. After being fired from that post, he returned to New Orleans as a defensive assistant in 2015 and was quickly promoted to defensive coordinator, a role he has held ever since. 

Under Allen, the Saints have routinely had one of the top defenses in the entire NFL. In 2021, they were the No. 3 ranked unit in the NFL in DVOA, per Football Outsiders, and allowed just 19.7 points per game (fourth-fewest in the league).  

Aaron Glenn

Current position: Detroit Lions defensive…

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