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Timing of Payton’s suspension complicates his free agency

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As the football-following world digests the news that Saints coach Sean Payton will, per Adam Schefter of ESPN, become a free agent after the 2012 season, Schefter adds an intriguing new twist that was previously omitted — and that definitely alters the timeline.

Because, as Schefter now points out, Payton’s suspension lasts until the Super Bowl, his free agency wouldn’t begin until early February, weeks after the normal head-coach hiring cycle has concluded.

Sure, some coaches have been hired after the Super Bowl, like when former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel joined the Browns after Super Bowl XXXIX.  But Crennel was interviewed before the Super Bowl; as to Payton, the process would be starting from scratch once the Super Bowl ends.

If multiple teams are interested in Payton, will they wait for Payton to finally become available?  It would become a very high-stakes game of chicken, with any pursuit for Payton demanding a contingency plan that would entail lining up a fallback who very well would have no interest in waiting around until early February to find out whether he does or doesn’t have a job.

Though Schefter became a little adamant during Monday morning’s SportsCenter regarding the prospects of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones firing coach Jason Garrett and hiring Payton, a lot of things will have to happen before Payton becomes the next coach of the Cowboys.

More importantly, several things will have to not happen, as they relate to the Saints’ equally adamant belief that Payton will be the head coach of the team in 2013 and beyond.  For starters, the Saints will have to be deemed unable to fix the flaw in the contract at any point during the next three months, which would allow the problem to be resolved weeks before anyone else could even talk to Payton.

Then there’s the strong visceral notion that Payton shouldn’t be able to profit from his suspension by joining a new team and writing his own ticket.  Besides, if he wanted to make the jump to Dallas and coach the Cowboys, all he had to do was not sign the proposed extension in September 2011.  But he signed the extension, which means he wants to stay with the Saints.  And he included a term that allows him to leave if G.M. Mickey Loomis leaves.  Since Loomis is there, why would Payton suddenly want to leave a franchise that has been squarely behind him despite conduct that was deemed sufficiently problematic to justify a one-year suspension?

Finally, don’t discount the league’s desire to work this out so that Payton stays in New Orleans.  Regardless of where the blame should be placed, Saints fans will blame the league office for setting in motion the chain of events that ultimately could give the term “Free Sean Payton” a much different meaning.

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36 Responses to “Timing of Payton’s suspension complicates his free agency”
  1. Steeley McBeam says: Nov 5, 2012 2:38 PM

    Couldn’t the Cowboys just string Garrett along until they have time to throw Jerrys saving account at Peyton? If he declines they just act like nothing ever happened, similar to the Dolphins with Sporano a few years ago.

  2. marzalmighty says: Nov 5, 2012 2:39 PM

    Also, what about the Rooney Rule? One would think that would also hamper any late efforts to land Payton.

  3. thingamajig says: Nov 5, 2012 2:40 PM

    “But Crennel was interviewed before the Super Bowl; as to Payton, the process would be starting from scratch once the Super Bowl ends.”

    What prevents anyone from talking to Payton right now?

  4. fightingwombat says: Nov 5, 2012 2:40 PM

    I think that Payton would want to stay in NO, to show the fans that this season was a a fluke without him. The Saints have been behind him during this entire mess and they will probably work something out to keep him there for as long as he wants to be there (and they are winning).

  5. phrancheyez says: Nov 5, 2012 2:40 PM

    Us folks in New Orleans can’t wait for the Commish to show up for the Super Bowl…

  6. marcinhouston says: Nov 5, 2012 2:41 PM

    If this is resolved, what distraction will the league manufacture next for the Saints to keep players and coaches from being able to concentrate on Football? Perhaps they will leak word that Rita Benson LeBlanc may not be approved as an owner and will be forced to sell should she inherit the franchise. Perhaps Goodell will issue a ruling that invalidates Brees’ contract or the Saints lease with the Superdome. Or how about he rules that the Chargers could apply a transition tag to Sproles and he goes back to them, while the Saints could use their franchise tag on chronically injured Carl Nicks and he goes off the Bucs payroll back to the Saints. I am being serious, there seems to be no limit to Goodell’s vendetta.

  7. justintuckrule says: Nov 5, 2012 2:42 PM

    Goodell is so in over his head running this league it’s not even funny.

  8. cwwgk says: Nov 5, 2012 2:49 PM

    This would never have become an issue if Payton and his coaches hadn’t, by their own admission, perpetuated a cover up and lie to league investigators. The owners and their commissioner don’t take kindly to employees who flip them the bird.

    Payton brought all this on himself.

  9. sophandros says: Nov 5, 2012 2:55 PM

    thingamajig says:
    Nov 5, 2012 2:40 PM
    “But Crennel was interviewed before the Super Bowl; as to Payton, the process would be starting from scratch once the Super Bowl ends.”

    What prevents anyone from talking to Payton right now?

    ———————————-

    The terms of his suspension stipulate that he can not have contact with anyone in the NFL, not just with the Saints.

  10. dzor22 says: Nov 5, 2012 2:56 PM

    On all you people who use ‘luck’ as the reason Atl is 8-0. Pay attention. This is the NFL. The team with the most points win. If the team we beat was good enough–they would have beat us. Next time Carolina…dont underestimate our QBs arm and teach your DBs how to cover that play. Raiders? Dont let our ‘fluke’ QB put us in FG position in seconds. Its a 60 minute game. We play all 60…we win. 8-0. Period!

  11. sfm073 says: Nov 5, 2012 2:57 PM

    He’s not going anywhere.

  12. phrancheyez says: Nov 5, 2012 2:59 PM

    As for what prevents Payton from talking to other teams right now:

    If Payton’s suspension doesn’t cause his contract to toll, then he’s legally employed by the New Orleans Saints (really, even if it does toll), and therefor other teams cannot legally talk to him without permission from the New Orleans Saints.

    I think, but I’m not sure, but I think the Saints would probably say, “No.”

  13. scrp2 says: Nov 5, 2012 3:01 PM

    Thanks for the condensed novel but it’s a non-story. Payton is staying in N.O., However, I do expect a daily post about it until early february.

  14. nispikers says: Nov 5, 2012 3:01 PM

    If Tom Benson would have had any inkling that Sean Payton would not be coming back to the Saints for the next season then he would have fired him. This contract voiding took place in March, near the time that Goodell and Payton met about the bounty suspensions. Therefore, Tom Benson had to have been aware of the circumstances since then.
    So in light of the fact that Benson knew about the extension being voided, if by any ways or means he had(has) any idea that Sean Payton would NOT be with the Saints after this season, then he would have fired him. There is no way in hell an owner would let his team be without a head coach for the entire year on purpose. He would have fired Sean Payton and proceeded to hire another head coach and would have done away with the interim to the interim crap we had for the first 6 weeks!
    There was nothing to keep Benson from doing that except that he didn’t have to pay a head coach, but wouldn’t the consequences (2-5) be more of a financial consequence than not paying a head coach for a year???

  15. daknight93 says: Nov 5, 2012 3:07 PM

    once Loomis comes back after tonite’s game…Saints have permission to negotiate a new deal with Sean while he’s suspended and the speculations of his possible landing spots will go away.

  16. realfann says: Nov 5, 2012 3:19 PM

    Gosh this is really, really, interesting.

    Could we have at least one article a day on the topic?

  17. cometkazie says: Nov 5, 2012 3:21 PM

    Well said, Mike.

  18. jcampol says: Nov 5, 2012 3:21 PM

    What had made anyone think Payton wants to leave?

  19. tcostant says: Nov 5, 2012 3:29 PM

    Maybe Patton wants to get even with the owner for giving the NFL access to all the computers that caused his $7M suspension? Maybe he wants a owner who would have tolf the NLF no?

  20. northernwisc says: Nov 5, 2012 3:43 PM

    The terms of his suspension stipulate that he can not have contact with anyone in the NFL, not just with the Saints.
    —————————————————
    That and he is under contract with the Saints at this point. So I would imagine tampering would come up.

  21. dublindemonszfl says: Nov 5, 2012 3:48 PM

    What really make free agency complicated is the terrible play of Christian Ponder! Payton has it easy.

  22. daknight93 says: Nov 5, 2012 3:49 PM

    Saints can have talks with Sean’s agent and new deal will get done once approved by almighty Godell.

  23. NakedCowboy! says: Nov 5, 2012 3:50 PM

    cowboys need a new coach… payton or gruden would be good…

  24. 7swag7 says: Nov 5, 2012 4:25 PM

    Even if Garrett stays in Dallas, he won’t do any offseason scouting until February anyway, just like he doesn’t call a play/timeout until too much time ticks away.

  25. mrpowers88 says: Nov 5, 2012 5:03 PM

    1. If we learned anything from the Drew Brees contract negotiations, its that the Saints will wait until they find out unequivocally that Payton will be a free agent. If/when Payton is determined a free agent, that will give him a window to get out of New Orleans.

    2. Why do people think Payton put the questionable term in? Looking at the defense this season, it seems that Loomis was hitching his wagon to Payton so he wouldnt get fired for building only one-half of a football team

  26. mdd913 says: Nov 5, 2012 5:17 PM

    cwwgk says: Nov 5, 2012 2:49 PM

    This would never have become an issue if Payton and his coaches hadn’t, by their own admission, perpetuated a cover up and lie to league investigators. The owners and their commissioner don’t take kindly to employees who flip them the bird.

    Payton brought all this on himself.

    —————————————————-

    Just because you say something doesn’t make it the truth.

    You keep spreading the lie that they admitted to a bounty program, and they didn’t. Now you are spreading the lie that that admitted to “perpetuating a cover up.”

  27. mdd913 says: Nov 5, 2012 5:21 PM

    marcinhouston says: Nov 5, 2012 2:41 PM

    If this is resolved, what distraction will the league manufacture next for the Saints to keep players and coaches from being able to concentrate on Football? Perhaps they will leak word that Rita Benson LeBlanc may not be approved as an owner and will be forced to sell should she inherit the franchise. Perhaps Goodell will issue a ruling that invalidates Brees’ contract or the Saints lease with the Superdome. Or how about he rules that the Chargers could apply a transition tag to Sproles and he goes back to them, while the Saints could use their franchise tag on chronically injured Carl Nicks and he goes off the Bucs payroll back to the Saints. I am being serious, there seems to be no limit to Goodell’s vendetta.

    ————————————————–

    The scary thing is, I can see a few of those scenarios coming true. At this point, I would not be surprised if Goodell ordered the Saints to be sold and moved to Los Angeles. He is that crazy and nobody ever holds him accountable for his actions.

  28. lawyermalloy says: Nov 5, 2012 5:30 PM

    Simply suspend him for LIFE;problem solved!

  29. cwwgk says: Nov 5, 2012 5:40 PM

    @mdd913: I’m not “spreading” anything. Just taking Sean Payton at his word. Through Goodell, the league alleged the Saints operated a bounty program and then tried to cover it up.

    In response Payton stated: “We acknowledge that the violations disclosed by the NFL during their investigation of our club happened under our watch. We take full responsibility.”

    Not my words. Sean Payton’s. I believe the man; not sure why you and so many don’t.

  30. saintsfan26 says: Nov 5, 2012 5:43 PM

    Its kinda funny how the same people who were calling Payton the scum of the Earth for the last 7 months all of a sudden now want him as a coach. As if he would want to coach for your bandwagon fanbase.

    Sean Payton is a Saint. Go find your own coach. WHO DAT!!

  31. mrpowers88 says: Nov 5, 2012 5:58 PM

    @saintsfan26

    Greg Williams was/is the scum of the earth. Sean Payton was the plausibly-denying (or attempting to, anyway) head coach who only paid attention to one side of the ball. Granted, he watched that one side of the ball very well.

  32. mfrazee81 says: Nov 5, 2012 6:17 PM

    COME TO BUFFALO!

  33. mazblast says: Nov 5, 2012 6:19 PM

    Finally, don’t discount the league’s desire to work this out so that Payton stays in New Orleans.
    —————————
    I think the truth is just the opposite. The Great Roger Goodell Himself Live And In Person has a vendetta against the Saints, and He Himself will do anything he deems necessary, illegal, unethical, immoral, or a combination thereof, to knock them back down to doormat status.

    Unless Payton winds up back with the Saints, I will believe that this whole thing was a setup–especially if he winds up in Dallas with one of Goodell’s biggest supporters, ol’ Facelift Jones.

  34. patfic15 says: Nov 5, 2012 6:21 PM

    Roger is acting like a bitter ex wife.

  35. letmesetyoustraight says: Nov 5, 2012 6:35 PM

    There is no way Payton would go to the Cowboys. He worked there with Parcells, a good friend who quit Dallas, and knows how the owner/GM hamstrings the coaches with players they don’t want.

  36. ningenito78 says: Nov 5, 2012 6:42 PM

    Anybody that wants to know why and how this will end read nispiker’s post. He pretty much nailed it.

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