When word first emerged of Sean Payton’s scuttled contract extension, the Saints were in the midst of a run of five wins in six games. So while it was viewed as important that the Saints find a way to keep Payton beyond the expiration of his full-season extension, the team’s run was making some wonder whether it was critical.
The past two games have shown that it is.
With a pair of 10-point losses in five days, including a career-high five interceptions for Drew Brees, the value of Sean Payton has been confirmed. The Falcons are the first team the Saints have played a second time in 2012, and Atlanta was able to crack (must . . . resist . . . egg . . . joke) whatever code the non-Payton Saints have in place.
Thursday night’s meltdown comes at a time when ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported that the NFL and the Saints are “finalizing the conditions” that will allow the team and Payton’s agent to work out a contract to replace the one that was rejected by the league office. It previously had been reported, however, that the Saints and Payton already had received the green light to proceed.
Regardless, the deal hasn’t been done. The recent struggles of the Saints proves that it needs to be.
Especially since the team believed to be the primary alternative for Payton — the Cowboys — is struggling, too.