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SmashMouth 12-13-2012 05:28 PM

Sean Payton is keeping all options open as his leverage increases
 
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When it comes to Sean Payton's contract talks with the New Orleans Saints, no news is not good news. From all indications, those discussions have been playing out like any typical negotiations between a team and a pending free agent.

That's not automatically bad for the Saints. But the best-case scenario would have been a quick resolution once the two sides were finally allowed to start talking two weeks ago.

Instead, it's become more apparent that Payton is keeping all of his options open after unexpectedly winding up with an incredible amount of leverage during his one-year suspension.

http://media.nola.com/saints_impact/...9652-large.jpg

Any notion of Payton simply agreeing to take out a couple of paragraphs from last year's contract extension that was rejected by the NFL should be long gone by now. Now he'll almost certainly cost more than the reported $8 million per year that last year's deal was worth.

The Saints, now sinking at 5-8, need Payton more than ever. And Payton may never have more alternatives at his disposal than in the coming weeks, when several head-coaching vacancies are likely to come open.

The most likely scenario is still that Payton will return to the Saints, especially if the Dallas Cowboys stay hot and wind up sticking with current coach Jason Garrett.

For one thing, Payton's suspension isn't up until after the Super Bowl, unless the NFL indeed considers an early reinstatement. And even if that happens, Payton wouldn't be free to talk to other teams without the Saints' permission until his current contract runs out with the Saints (an unspecified date that could be as late as February or March).

Ultimately, though, the decision rests in Payton's hands. And the speculation and doubts will keep growing until he signs on the dotted line.

That's how things played out with Drew Brees' contract negotiations this summer. And that's how things appear to be playing out with Payton, as well.

It's impossible to know for sure how Payton views the Saints' future prospects now that he's looking at all of his options through a microscope.

No, the Saints' window to compete for Super Bowls is far from closed. But the team's recent struggles certainly haven't made them more attractive. And Payton's closest adviser, Bill Parcells, was always the master at leaving jobs early - before the ship started to sink.

The Saints still have an awful lot going for them, starting with a Hall of Fame quarterback in Brees and Payton's terrific working relationship with Saints Owner Tom Benson and General Manager Mickey Loomis, among others.

But even those bonds could have been tested over this past year, when they haven't been allowed to talk and when they've all been dealing with the constant blowback from the NFL's bounty investigation. I've heard suggestions that Payton would have preferred Benson to be more publicly critical of Goodell in recent months, though I haven't directly confirmed that.

Again, this is the type of speculation that will linger until a new deal is done.

And it's about to get worse, with the Saints headed to Dallas next week for a game that will be sure to ignite the next round of national buzz about Payton coaching the Cowboys.

So here we are in mid-December, with the Saints still not knowing if they'll have a head coach in place next month or not. At some point very soon, this needs to get cleared up. The Saints need to know if they should be putting their own wish list together before the January hiring frenzy begins.

Perhaps someone should bring in the "fixer," former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to come in and wrap this thing up with a nice, neat bow like he did with the Saints player suspensions this past week.

And I'm only partly joking when I suggest that, because this is another mess that was created in large part by Goodell and the league, both in the way it handled the bounty punishment and Payton's contract review process in the first place.

Now that the league finally seems willing to clean up some of those messes, here's a suggestion: Goodell should reinstate Payton immediately, let him get reacquainted with the Saints and give the team a fighting chance to keep its coach.

But then again, we should be done hoping for best-case scenarios by this point.

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Srgt. Hulka 12-13-2012 05:46 PM

Re: Sean Payton is keeping all options open as his leverage increases
 
Crap...Drew Brees all over again.

lynwood 12-13-2012 05:49 PM

Re: Sean Payton is keeping all options open as his leverage increases
 
Final nail in the coffin

saintsfan403 12-13-2012 07:23 PM

Re: Sean Payton is keeping all options open as his leverage increases
 
It's all speculation still...I never trust any article that uses statements like 'most certainly' or 'but I can't confirm that'. I wish the media would shut the Fug up until they have real news!

B_Dub_Saint 12-13-2012 07:43 PM

Re: Sean Payton is keeping all options open as his leverage increases
 
All this crap is stirring the pot, the media is great at it. SP isn't goin anywhere.

AllSaints 12-13-2012 07:43 PM

Re: Sean Payton is keeping all options open as his leverage increases
 
He will be in New Orleans next year... They r just trying to make a story out of nothing.... Why would he go anywhere else... I mean really...

QBREES9 12-13-2012 08:47 PM

Re: Sean Payton is keeping all options open as his leverage increases
 
I hate the MEDIA !!!!!

Mardigras9 12-14-2012 09:34 AM

Re: Sean Payton is keeping all options open as his leverage increases
 
Hopefully the organization learned its lesson from Brees, get it done and get it done in hurry.

QBREES9 12-14-2012 09:34 AM

Re: Sean Payton is keeping all options open as his leverage increases
 
True DAT !

73Saint 12-14-2012 09:44 AM

Re: Sean Payton is keeping all options open as his leverage increases
 
Why hasn't he signed yet then?


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