Over the weekend ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news that the NFL voided the contract extension that the New Orleans Saints and head coach Sean Payton signed in September of 2011.
The contract, which would have kept Payton in New Orleans through 2015, was voided due to the fact that the league found one part of the contract to be unacceptable. The language in question “was one specific clause that would have enabled Payton to walk away from the deal if general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended, fired, or left the New Orleans organization.”
In short, this voided contract just made Sean Payton a free agent. In fact, he’s probably going to be the most sought-after free agent during the off-season. And, why not? He’s only 48 years old, and already has a Super Bowl ring after turning the Saints around. It’s not far-fetched to think that many teams will be reaching out to Payton, I’m sure fans in Philly are already making plans.
But, there’s one team that’s already ahead of the pack. Unsurprisingly, it’s the Dallas Cowboys.
On paper, this makes a lot of sense. Payton was an assistant in Dallas from 2003-05. He has history with Tony Romo. They both went to Eastern Illinois and maintained contact. Also, Payton’s ex-wife and children now reside in the Dallas area. And, there’s Jerry Jones. An owner willing to throw any amount of money to make his team better.
To make the case easier for Sean Payton to leave the Big Easy for Big D, the Cowboys are having a disappointing season. After losing to the Falcons on Sunday night, the team is now 3-5. In fact, during the last 13 games under head coach Jason Garrett, Dallas is 4-9. You don’t have to be an analyst to notice that Dallas is playing uninspired and sloppy football.
So, maybe the Cowboys have to make the move for Sean Payton. It makes a ton of sense. But, will Sean Payton accept the offer? Probably not.
Payton has a great thing going on in New Orleans. He’s beloved by the fans. Has a solid relationship with the organization. And, has great chemistry with one of the game’s best players, a guy named Drew Brees. Seriously, what coach in their right mind would leave this scenario behind? Besides, I think when Payton’s suspension is over he’s going to want to coach, and have his team play, with a chip on their shoulders after the whole bounty scandal.
Also, Dallas needs more than a new coach, something Payton surely realizes. The team needs a major overhaul. Tony Romo isn’t a capable enough leader to take a team through the playoffs. They need a better running game. And, they need an upgrade on the offensive line. But, that’s just the beginning, With the exception of a handful of players, this is a team full of players that quit on their coach. Remember that only two short years ago the team gave up on Wade Phillips, which resulted in Jason Garrett taking over the team. Initially, this was the spark to get the team going. Now, it’s deja vu. And, that’s not discussing the problems with Jerry Jones. That’s a whole different topic.
While Garrett could easily be finished in Dallas after the season, I can’t see Sean Payton leaving New Orleans. It’s a much better situation than the mess that’s going on with the Cowboys. However, that doesn’t mean that Jerry Jones won’t give it a shot. He most certainly will. But, Payton will politely decline.