According to Charles Robinson, there is a “steadily increasing possibility” that HC Sean Payton leaves the Saints after the season.
Robinson reports that Payton’s future could be determined by what happens with the team’s ownership, and whether Tom Benson’s daughter, Renee, will take over control of the franchise.
“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,” Robinson’s source told him. “They’re waiting to see what happens.”
A report from Ian Rapoport on Sunday said the Saints would be willing to let Payton leave during the offseason, and the Saints “would be inclined to let him out of his contract” if he wanted to.
Robinson’s source added that Payton’s contract situation includes some outs in the event there’s a change in ownership.
“Sean has some outs in his deal. If there is an ownership change, he has an out,” said Robinson’s source. “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.”
Robinson points out that there are actually a number of jobs that are likely to be available with quarterbacks in place such as the Lions, Dolphins, Colts and Titans.
According to Robinson, the Chargers and Cowboys could also be in the mix, depending on what happens in the second half of the season.
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 84-53 (61.3 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.