It was reported on Friday night that the Saints and head coach Sean Payton agreed to a five-year extension worth $38 million. This extension comes on the heels of Peyton’s one-year suspension for his team’s participation in a bounty program that paid players for hits that injured players.
For much of the 2012 NFL season, it was speculated whether or not Peyton would become a free agent and leave New Orleans and leave the tarnish from Bounty Gate in his past. Quarterback Drew Brees was quoted as saying that he’d be shocked if Peyton was anywhere but New Orleans next season, and it looks as if he was correct.
Since Peyton and Brees joined forces, they helped lead the Saints to more regular season wins in the NFL leading up to the 2012 season. And with Peyton controlling the offense, Brees was able to break multiple franchise and NFL records.
”Very happy it is official,” Brees said in an email to the AP. ”Never had any doubts.”
With the new extension, Peyton is expected to rejoin the Saints as the head coach the day after the Super Bowl — unless Commissioner Roger Goodell allows him to come back sooner, and the whole organization seems thrilled that Peyton is coming back, including owner Tom Benson according to Yahoo! Sports.
”I am pleased that Sean Payton will be our head coach for a long time,” owner Benson said in a statement. ”Now we can focus our attention on building on the winning tradition with the Saints that Sean has played such a large role in.”
Peyton had signed an earlier contract extension with the Saints, but it was objected by Goodell due to certain language in the contract. There was a provision that allowed Peyton opt out early the Saints if general manager Mickey Loomis left the club for any reason. After that extension was voided by the commissioner, Peyton’s future with the Saints was up in the air until Friday night’s extension.
Without Peyton on the sidelines, the Saints missed the postseason for the first time since 2008. This weekend, the Saints will be looking to make sure they don’t finish the season with their first losing record since the 2007 when they ended the year 7-9.