Colts COO Pete Ward also spoke to CBS4Indy regarding the report from Jason La Canfora regarding them discussing a potential trade for Saints HC Sean Payton. Ward says La Canfora’s report is “totally fictitious.”
“It’s totally fictitious,’’ Ward said. “This is the age of false information. It’s believable.’’
Ward added that he told La Canfora his report is “BS.”
“I told him it was BS. And you can quote me on that,’’ Ward said.
However, Ward did say that an individual associated with Payton reached out to the Colts a couple of weeks ago.
“I got a call from someone who said he was an associate of Sean Payton,’’ Ward said. “He asked if we were interested in talking.”
According to Ward, he told the associate of Payton that he wasn’t interested.
“That it was,’’ Ward said. “I hate when something like this comes up because it’s not true and no matter how untrue it is.”
Ward confirmed that he received a call from the Saints regarding Payton, but they quickly decided they were not interested in pursuing a trade for Payton and did no engage in any further discussions with New Orleans.
According to Jason La Canfora, the Colts and Saints had “backchannel communications” about a potential trade involving HC Sean Payton.
However, sources with knowledge of the situation tell La Canfora that the talks ultimately broke down over draft-pick compensation. New Orleans was reportedly seeking more compensation than the Colts were willing to give up for Peyton, which La Canfora says likely at least one pick in the top two rounds.
La Canfora mentions that ownership for neither the Saints or Colts were involved directly in the process, the top decision markers from each team were aware of the communication and there was mutual interest in completing a deal for Payton. But Colts owner Jim Irsay felt that it was too costly for the team part with this kind of draft compensation for Payton.
La Canfora says that Irsay made it clear that they were willing to part ways with HC Chuck Pagano and bring Payton in. This comes after Irsay announced Saturday that Pagano is going to return for the 2017 season.
Had the Colts traded for Payton, La Canfora mentions that Jeff Ireland likely would have joined him in Indianapolis as the team’s general manager.
Colts COO Pete Ward was reportedly the person who was handling the trade talks for Payton from the Colts’ end.
As for Grigson, whom the team fired yesterday, La Canfora reports that he was surprised to get the call over the weekend that he was being let go by the Colts.
Irsay downplayed the team’s interest in Peyton Manning and Jon Gruden but La Canfora’s sources tell him that Irsay used the past few weeks as an attempt to upgrade their current situation.
This is the second straight year that Payton has been the subject of trade rumors but he has made it clear that he plans to remain in New Orleans.
“My plan is definitely to be back here,” Payton said, per Joel A. Erickson.
Payton also said that he intends to honor his contract with the team.
“I have four years left on my contract and I plan on honoring that,” Payton said, per Kristian Garic.
Payton, 52, signed a new five-year, $45 million extension with the Saints back in March of last year after some talk that he could leave New Orleans. He’s currently under team control through the 2020 season.
For what it’s worth, the Saints would save roughly $40 million by trading Payton.
Since taking over as head coach of the Saints back in 2006, Payton has led the team to a record of 94 and 65 (59.1 percent), which includes five playoff appearances and a Super Bowl title back in 2009.