Before becoming head coach of the Saints, Sean Payton served as offensive coordinator of the Cowboys. One of his pupils was Tony Romo, an undrafted backup quarterback stuck behind Drew Bledsoe.
When Payton became the head coach of the Saints, Payton reportedly tried to trade for Romo. The Cowboys, knowing that Romo had real potential, weren’t interested.
So Payton needed another quarterback. And he signed Drew Brees.
On Wednesday, Payton talked about the trade that might have been, doing his best to downplay the situation.
“Much was made of that,” Payton said in comments distributed by the team. “That was at a time when there really wasn’t a lot to that. Dallas had a guy that they were going to develop and work with. I think that at the time when we got here, there was just a need for a quarterback and more than anything people were just kind of putting the dots together. There probably wasn’t a whole lot to that.”
Um, there probably wasn’t a lot to that?
The truth is that Payton dodged what would have been a self-inflicted bullet. Even though Romo has turned out to be a good quarterback (at least from September to November), Brees has become one of the best two or three quarterbacks in the league. And Payton probably is downplaying the interest in Romo now because, at one time, Payton preferred Romo to Brees.
But, hey, it could be worse. Payton could have opted instead to send a second-round pick to Minnesota for Daunte Culpepper.