There is a “steadily increasing possibility” that head coach Sean Payton and some front office execs will exit the franchise in the offseason, a league source tells Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. There’s currently a legal battle being waged regarding ownership of the Saints between Tom Benson and his estranged daughter Renee Benson. If the younger Benson comes out on top, it could lead to major changes for the Saints.
“If [Renee Benson] gets control of the team, a lot of people [in the franchise] are worried that she could fire everyone who has been loyal to Tom,” the league source said, adding that Payton is one of the people in Tom Benson’s corner. “They’re waiting to see what happens.”
It sounds as though Renee Benson could push Payton out the door, but the coach might also push the eject button out of New Orleans. Payton has options and there will be no shortage of suitors for him if he hits the open market.
“Sean has some outs in his deal,” Robinson’s source said. “If there is an ownership change, he has an out. He has some other outs, too. There would be a lot of interest in him – maybe four or five other teams would be interested. … I don’t think he’s thinking about it right now. He’s not pursuing anything. I think he wants to see what happens like everyone else. But considering everything, if I put a percentage on whether he’d be the Saints coach next year, I’d say [it’s] 50-50.”
On Sunday night it was reported that if Payton wants to be a “coaching free agent” at the end of the 2015 season, the Saints would be inclined to let him out of his contract. The Colts and Dolphins have been frequently mentioned as a suitor for Payton’s services should he become available, and the Giants, Lions, and Titans could all be looking for head coaches as well by season’s end. All of those clubs would be willing to pay top dollar for Payton, who has a reputation as a quarterback guru.