Sean Payton explained just how close the New Orleans Saints were to drafting Patrick Mahomes back in 2017.
It seems the list of teams that almost drafted Patrick Mahomes back in 2017 grows bigger each year. Mahomes is to NFL coaches not named Andy Reid what a big catch is to a fisherman; somehow each time the story gets told the fish gets bigger.
Memories are a finicky thing, as they’re often times wildly unreliable. Think about how many times you’ve misremembered something. There’s some smart theory floating out there that worded way better than that but the gist is we don’t actually remember things exactly the way they happened.
All of this is to say we’ve reached the point where just about every team in the NFL and perhaps some CFL teams were so close to drafting Mahomes. But they didn’t, the Chiefs did and the rest is history.
That hasn’t stopped coaches from dusting off their near-miss stories about almost landing Mahomes. Sean Payton offered up his on the FOX pregame show ahead of Week 1, but at least his is an interesting Sliding Doors moment to ponder.
As Payton tells it, the Saints were so ready to draft Mahomes that they were cluing Drew Brees in.
“Drew Brees was in the draft room that day, it was the first time he’d ever been up there,” Payton explained. “It wasn’t going to impact him but I thought it was important that he knew that we might be taking a quarterback.
It was gonna happen.”
Of all the Mahomes stories coaches have told, this one ranks among the more interesting What-Ifs that could have altered NFL history.
Green Bay’s luck in moving seamlessly from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers is the stuff of football legend, but the Saints going from Brees to Mahomes would have been as good if not better. Payton likely is still coaching in New Orleans, the Saints might have another Super Bowl, and who knows what happens with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers if Mahomes is standing in his way on the bayou.
There’s also the case of what happens to the Chiefs. Is Andy Reid still firmly planted on the sideline, or is his legacy as solidified as it is now? Or is he still chasing that one last piece he needs to complete his case for Canton.
Here’s one to try on for size: Does Brady go to Kansas City and not Tampa Bay?
Most of these Mahomes stories that coaches tell like old fishing stories are lame. But there’s a lot of meat on the bone of Payton’s story even if it all ends up in the same bucket of irrelevance.