Suspended New Orleans Saints head coach will be a free agent following this season. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the NFL has voided Payton’s multi-year contract extension with the Saints and there is now doubt in league circles about how long Payton will remain in New Orleans.
As recently as March, when Payton was visiting NFL offices to appeal his yearlong suspension in the bounty scandal, he asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the status of his contract extension and was told it was unsatisfactory as it initially was constituted, sources said.
At issue in the contract 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, sources said.
The league believed that any such language in Payton’s contract would set a bad precedent for other coaching contracts and rejected the deal well before Loomis was suspended for the first eight games this season for his part in the bounty scandal.
There is some speculation that Payton could end up coaching the Dallas Cowboys after this season. Payton was the assistant head coach from 2003 to 2005 in Dallas. It was during the time that the Cowboys brought in Tony Romo who attended Payton’s alma mater, Eastern Illinois.
It is possible that Payton’s relationship with the organization could keep him in New Orleans but after all of the scandal he may be looking for a fresh start.