Eventually, the annual “Sean Payton may leave the Saints” rumor is going to be right. That year could be this year.
With multiple national reporters connecting Payton to the Rams, Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the Rams plan to seek permission to speak to Payton this week, and that Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis would be open to trading Payton.
Technically, the Saints and Rams would work out the terms of compensation before the Rams speak to Payton about a contract to coach the Rams. It’s not a trade in the classic sense; the Saints don’t send the remaining contract to the Rams. Instead, the Rams work out a deal with Payton. And the Rams work out a deal with the Saints.
As a practical matter, plenty of the nuts and bolts will be worked out on a wink-nod basis, with hypothetical conversations setting the parameters before the official launch sequence is engaged. Essentially, if the Rams and Saints ever get to the point where they are negotiating the terms of compensation for Payton, the Rams will know that they’ll be able to do a deal with Payton.