The 31-year-old is hoping to return to the NRL, with his wife and kids currently living in Australia.
Widdop was linked to the Cowboys after Jake Clifford signed a deal with Newcastle for the 2022 season, with Payten revealing a move for the Warrington veteran remains unlikely.
“Jake and Gareth are managed by the same manager and once we were notified that Jake had signed with the Knights there was a throwaway line at the end of that conversation, around if Gareth wants to come home would you be interested?,” Payten told the Sky’s Big Sports Breakfast.
“That’s all it was, nothing more than that.
“Our answer was we’re happy with Jake for the next 12 months and hopefully we get him going.
“I was really dumbfounded how that made the press from that one sentence.”