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NFL Voided Sean Payton's Contract Extension

Saints head coach could become free agent and move on after 2012 season.

Sean Gardner

Sometime within the past year the NFL voided Saints head coach Sean Payton's multiyear contract extension, which he signed in September 2011, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

That means when Payton returns to football after this season over, he becomes a free agent and available to coach for another NFL team, like say, the Dallas Cowboys.

How was the league able to act unilaterally with regard to Payton's contract?

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.

Before we all start to freak out and panic, let's take a deep breath. None of this means Payton is actually going anywhere. I would hope and pray that he plans on working out a new contract with Saints owner Tom Benson allowing him to stay in New Orleans. How could he possibly leave the team after this year and in such a ruined state? It would be unforgivable.

Further highlighting the close relationship between coach and owner is the fact that Payton has been doing some work for Benson with the New Orleans Hornets in the interim to earn a little income.

What this tells us, however, is that Payton and Loomis are very much in love. It's obvious that Payton doesn't really want anything to do with the Saints if Mickey Loomis isn't also a part of the equation.