In a move that could start a new trend in NFL head-coaching circles, Saints coach Sean Payton reportedly has given up $250,000 in 2009 salary in order to help his team land defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
According to Jay Glazer of FOX, Payton sweetened the pot for Williams by offering to sacrifice a quarter-million bucks.
The move meshes with rumors we’d heard that Williams received an offer from the Packers and shopped it back to the Saints.
But what does this say about the Saints that, to get the guy they wanted, it wasn’t ownership that coughed up the extra cash but the head coach? 
We know what it says about Payton:  He knows his butt is on the hot seat in 2009. 
Payton’s smart enough to see the parallels between himself and Eric Mangini, the former Jets coach.  Both men took their teams to the playoffs in their first seasons as head coaches.  Both men had disappointing sophomore seasons.  Both franchises spent a bunch of money (and, for the Saints, draft picks) in an effort to become highly competitive in 2008.
And both efforts failed.
Apart from the apparent fact that Payton already is feeling the heat, his willingness to give up some of his money creates a new front in the process of negotiating coaching contracts.  Owners, who didn’t become filthy rich by being stupid, can try to squeeze head coaches into reducing their own deals if said head coaches are perceived to be overly anxious to hire a given assistant coach.
So when Payton senses at the Senior Bowl, the Scouting Combine, and the league meetings that he’s getting the cold shoulder, he need not check his armpits (or any other region of his body) for objectionable odor.  He has now made the lives of the other NFL head coaches a bit more complex by giving every owner a new weapon for holding down costs, and the other NFL head coaches surely won’t be happy about it.


  1. If the coaches had their own union this would never have been allowed for the reasons Florio mentions….
    Much like the MLB players union shot down a-rods attempt to give back salary to sign with the Red Sox back in the 2003 offseason

  2. With all due respect that this article deserves, I think that the take should be not only that Payton’s on the hot seat, but the fact that he understands the vagaries of pro football, that he understands that his boss is a poorman’s owner, and finally, that he’s a decent man who’ll look within himself and do what he believes is most expedient and silent in order to improve his squad. Forget those other soft head coaches, who cares what that fraternity of napoleonic nimrods thinks. I applaud Payton!

  3. We were desperate to get a DC and in order for us to get into the playoffs in 09 we need defense and Payton know this. So he did what he had to in order to get him here. You got to respect that.

  4. Florio, stop hating. Payton wasn’t thinking of other NFL teams or other NFL coaches. He was thinking of his job, his fans, his team, and a Championship.
    Get over it.

  5. Florio, you are unbelievable. The guy made a stand-up move but you just can’t keep from hating on the Saints. It’ll be fun watching them march to the Superbowl next year just to see your head explode.

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