Fourteen months ago, the Saints announced a contract extension for coach Sean Payton that would keep him in New Orleans through the 2015 season. In doing so, owner Tom Benson proclaimed, “Our goal is to continue to build a tradition of winning here in New Orleans, and Sean represents that tradition.”
Now that the tradition has been besmirched by the bounty scandal and Payton has been suspended for the entire 2012 season, it’s possible Payton won’t be coming back as the Saints head coach, after all.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the league has voided that contract extension, meaning Payton will be a free agent at the end of this season — which, quite naturally, will make him one of the most attractive head coaches on the market.
For now, though, it’s unclear if Payton will be a free agent after this season. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes that “the likelihood of the contract fully voiding and Payton hitting the market appear slim.”
The NFL hasn’t made it any clearer with this statement: “Our office has made no determination on Sean Payton’s contract status with the Saints for next year. All contracts between clubs and their employees must be approved by the commissioner, and we do not comment on specific terms of individual contracts. Any comment regarding the matter should come from Coach Payton and the Saints.”
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