After a season of watching games from home due to a year-long suspension as a result of the bounty scandal, Sean Payton can officially breathe easy with the New Orleans Saints intent on making him the highest-paid head coach in the league.
According to ESPN.com, Payton has signed a long-term deal with the Saints:
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has signed a five-year contract extension that will run through the 2017 season.
The team announced the extension Wednesday but did not release details. The deal is expected to pay Payton more than $8 million annually, which should establish him as the NFL’s highest-paid coach, a league source told ESPN. Payton agreed to the deal in principle on Dec. 29.
Once Payton’s contract extension with New Orleans was voided by the league, the speculation around the NFL was that Payton was set to become the most sought after free agent on the open market during the off-season. As one of the most respected head coaches in the game, Payton was thought to easily land on his feet once the suspension was lift at season’s end.
A few candidates emerged as being potentially interested in Payton if he were to become available. The Dallas Cowboys appeared to be on the list as well as the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Saints were never officially out of the picture in terms of being able to renegotiate a new deal with the one-time Super Bowl champion.
With the Saints finishing with a disappointing record of 7-9 and turning into one of the worst defenses in the NFL in the process, New Orleans knew the value of having Payton on the sidelines.
Ironically enough, Payton may have actually benefited from sitting out for the season rather than coaching. Payton is $40 million richer as a result of showing what the team is without him calling the shots on a weekly basis.