One of the biggest head coaching question marks heading into the NFL offseason (for the bottom 20 teams at least) was the future of Sean Payton with the New Orleans Saints. Payton made it clear heading into the Week 17 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons that he was building a house in New Orleans, his son was a short flight away in Dallas, and he wasn’t going anywhere.
But now there’s another question emerging out of the Big Easy—do the Saints still want Sean Payton in Black & Gold?
Payton’s meeting with general manager Mickey Loomis Monday didn’t answer it. We do know, however, that the Saints are now willing to part ways with Payton in exchange for a second-round pick. Personally, I’d ask at least two first-rounders for the man who brought a Super Bowl to New Orleans of all places, but I guess I’m a little bias there.
I was a little upset at first. I mean, really? A second-round pick for a man who has done so much for this city? Does Loomis have any idea how hard a Hall of Fame coach is to come by in this league? He didn’t understand that with tight ends, so maybe not. But then as interested teams began pouring in, I started to see the genius behind Loomis’s move—the man’s trying spark a bidding war to make up for the Saints’ other issues.
The New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, and San Francisco 49ers have already thrown their hats into the metaphorical ring. That’s four teams with a chance to change the future and face of their franchises—provided they can outbid the other three.
But let’s not forget about the Saints in all this. Drew Brees has one year left on his contract, but without Payton in his ear, he may as well hang it up. I’m not going to sit here and say that the Saints Super Bowl window is still open, but if it’s even slightly ajar, losing Sean Payton will slam it shut on Brees’s throwing fingers.
At this point, it’s a coin flip. No one could really tell you if Payton will leave, or where he’ll go if he does. All I can say for sure is that wherever he lands, that team will never be the same.