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When Will Sean Payton be Reinstated?

Below are answers to reader questions submitted Tuesday. Special thanks to all those that participated. Feel free to continue the discussion on any of these topics in the comment section below.

Out of the 4 remaining teams, who do you want to win the Superbowl? - Cameron T.

None of them, really. I suppose if I had to choose a team, it would be the Baltimore Ravens simply by default. They're the only team that I don't dislike. Obviously I can't root for the Falcons and 49ers. The Patriots are the Yankees of the NFL, I'm sick of seeing them win. That leaves only the Ravens.

Do you want the Saints to sign a new kicker in the offseason? - Garrett H.

Honestly, no. Unlike a lot of fickle Saints fans, I have no problem with Garrett Hartley. He's certainly not perfect, but no kicker ever is. There are going to be some missed field goals every now and then, but it's no reason to break out the pitchforks. The Saints have much bigger fish to fry this offseason.

Will we get a free agent corner this year to replace the horrendous garbage we have at #2 CB? - Dan K.

The Saints have drafted both Patrick Robinson and Johnny Patrick in the past two years to help their secondary. They shouldn't need to sign a free agent cornerback. If they do go after someone I wouldn't expect it to be a big name, maybe someone in the same vein as Elbert Mack.

As I recall, the Barrett Rudd deal was for a late round "conditional "pick. Surely Rudd did not meet those conditions. So, my question is : What is the conditions for which the Saints would lose a draft pick in the Rudd deal, and were those conditions met? - Tim P.

I think you may be misunderstanding the definition of a conditional draft pick. Whether or not a player meets the conditions doesn't determine whether the team that acquired him gives up a draft pick or not. Instead, it determines which draft pick that team must give up.

So if a player is traded to a team for a conditional draft pick and meets those conditions, that team might have to give up a 5th round draft pick. Whereas if that player did not meet the conditions, the team might only have to give up a 6th round draft pick.

I don't think any of this matters, however, because I believe Barrett Ruud was traded for an undisclosed draft pick and not a conditional pick. If he were acquired for a conditional pick, as you noted, he probably did not meet whatever conditions were agreed upon and the Saints would only lose the less valuable of the two potential draft picks.

Will the Saints ever learn to stop throwing away late round pics on bad trades that don't pan out that depletes our ability to restock our team with young talent? - Jeff. l. b.

Do you find it odd that for a franchise that talks about emulating what the hoodie does up in NE, our draft philosophies are nothing alike? It'd be nice to have some extra picks in the draft each year. Maybe Payton can't do the Jedi mind trick like hoodie or something. That's the only way I can make sense of the trades people make with them. - Robert S.

These are both legitimately good questions. I ponder the same thing every draft season because it drives me absolutely nuts each year. The Saints rarely, if ever, trade down and acquire more draft picks ala Bill Bellichick and the Patriots. Which is just plain stupid because look how well it's worked for them. The recipe for success is right in front of their face!

Instead, it's always the other way around for the Saints; a one way street of draft day trading, always giving away and never taking. And it's almost always never worth it. Just off the top of my head, the only recent draft day trade up that's actually panned out was the one that landed Thomas Morstead. Will it ever end? I wouldn't think so while the powers that be still remain in charge.

Shouldn't Sean Payton have been reinstated by now? After all, the season is over and any impact that happens as the result of Payton still being suspended affects next season and ruining one season should be sufficient. - Phil W.

It's looking like Sean Payton won't be reinstated until after the Super Bowl. Roger Goodell has the ability to consider an earlier reinstatement but the most recent reports are saying that's not likely. Surprised? Of course not. And you're right, the longer it takes for Payton to be reinstated, the more of an affect his suspension has on 2013 and beyond. Take the open offensive line coaching position, for instance, which is now vacant following Aaron Kromer's move to Chicago. The team needs to fill that position quickly while the best candidates are still available. But Payton can't be involved in that decision making process until he's reinstated, which means the Saints may hire someone Payton doesn't want or doesn't think is best for the team.