The goal for the Chicago Bears and George McCaskey should be clear: pry Sean Payton away from the New Orleans Saints. The reasons why are fairly obvious.
He has been one of the most successful coaches in the league over the past 15 years, with an offense that perfectly fits Justin Fields. (Payton is known for “four verts”, which is designed to stretch the field. He is also known to want a mobile quarterback. There is no better fit for what he wants than Fields.) He wins in a variety of different ways, adjusting his offense to the talent he has, and managing to achieve similar results. He is a great offensive coach. The entire league knows that. The Bears know that. But how could the Bears get the Saints to agree?
The reasons for Payton to leave are there. The Saints don’t have a quarterback or really the means to acquire one. The Saints are projected to be nearly $62 million over the salary cap in 2022, and while GM Mickey Loomis has long been able to negotiate the cap, the likely outcome is going to include letting some good players go. (Keep in mind that that cap number doesn’t include a new contract for Terron Armstead who is set to be a free agent and could net an annual salary topping $20 million.)
If any team can navigate that cap mess, it’s the Saints, but the other factor is their age. Even if they bring Armstead back, he’s 30 years old. Cam Jordan is 32, Taysom Hill, 31; Ryan Ramczyk and Michael Thomas are both 28. They are a top-heavy team with a lot of veterans making big bucks. Their entire roster is going to need rebuilding in the near future and, at 58 years old, Payton may not want to endure that experience.
And they still have to find a way to get a quarterback! Perhaps they can swing a trade for Russ Wilson, Deshaun Watson or Aaron Rodgers, but it would gut the draft picks they need to replace the veteran players already mentioned.
There is no easy fix for the Saints.