Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, citing three sources, reports that Saints HC Sean Payton has a “change of control” clause in his contract that could set him free if owner Tom Benson is no longer in change of the team.
According to Rapoport, if Payton wanted to be a coaching free agent after this year, the Saints “would be inclined to let him out of his contract.”
It’s been a few weeks since we last heard anything about Payton possibly leaving the Saints, but assuming the Saints are, in fact, willing to let him out of his deal to pursue other opportunities, you can expect to hear much more about his future in the coming months.
Last we heard, Rapoport reported that Payton is “open to” listening to inquiries from NFL teams with coaching vacancies. Rapoport added that talks between Payton and interested teams may ultimately turn into nothing, but it sounds like he’s at least willing to see what’s out there.
As of now, there’s no indication that the Saints would be willing to field trade offers for Payton after the season. However, the Dolphins and Colts have been identified as two possible teams that could be interested in a trade for Payton.
It’s worth mentioning that Payton has previously tried to shoot down the speculation that he could move on from the Saints next year.
“Let’s go back through it,” Payton said. “A year ago there was a report from Peter King. . . . I think that happens when you’re in year ten, I think, and you’re not having success. There’s this, ‘Well, you know, is there another job he’d be interested in?’ So my point if you predict that every year at some point someone’s gonna be right, whether you retire or you finish or you’re let go. I mean, I think that’s just a little bit of the nature of our game right now. I don’t know what else to say.
“I love it here. I’m close to my children. I bought a — just built a brand new place here. So you get tired of answering the questions and yet I understand you asking. And I’ll say what I said before. This is where I see myself. And I’ve said that now, for however many years.”
Payton is under contract through the 2017 season, and makes $8 million per year with this agreement. However, reports have said that Payton’s contract will not deter teams from approaching the Saints about a potential deal.
Payton, 51, has lead the Saints to a record of 84-52 (6.18 percent) including their only Super Bowl title over the course of eight-plus seasons in New Orleans.
We’ll have more regarding Payton’s future with either the Saints or other NFL teams as the news is available.