Bidwill: Cardinals weren’t willing to part with draft picks for Sean Payton

Feb 23, 2023, 8:38 AM | Updated: 9:04 am

Of the 10 head-coaching candidates the Arizona Cardinals interviewed this offseason, now-Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton carried the highest profile.

He also carried with him a steep price tag that included the trading of draft capital to the Saints, Payton’s former team, due to the fact that the head coach had two years left on his previous deal with New Orleans.

“The issues around coach Payton had nothing to do with the money — the compensation that we would be paying him,” Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Thursday. “It was all the compensation, the draft compensation … we just weren’t willing to go with what the Saints wanted us to give up.

“It would have been too costly to the team for us to rebuild that roster. It was really a series of tradeoffs. I still felt like we got great coaches out there who could get this team turned around and I think we were right when you look at (new Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon).”

That’s not to say Bidwill didn’t bring ideas to the table when discussing potential trade compensation with New Orleans, who was unwilling to structure things differently when it came to acquiring Payton’s services, the owner said.

With Payton no longer an option, the Cardinals shifted focus to their other candidates before landing on Gannon after Super Bowl LVII.

Denver, however, ended up paying the Saints’ ransom of a 2023 first-round pick (29th overall) and a 2024 second-rounder pick in exchange for Payton and New Orleans’ 2024 third-round pick.

“It’s in that category of some of the deals you do versus the deals you don’t do,” Bidwill said. “We’re going to be really happy with those draft choices this year and next year … that will help us get this team better quickly.”

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