In another twist in the most insane calendar year in franchise history, a new controversy involving the Saints' head coach has emerged. Sean Payton, currently suspended for the season for his role in the Saints' bounty scandal and coverup, has a contract extension with the Saints signed in 2011 that is now voided by the league.
Full details are not yet public in a report leaked to ESPN, but Payton could in theory be unsigned when he emerges from his suspension after the Super Bowl in 2013. Payton signed an extension through 2015 in September of last season.
This fuels more speculation that Payton, who lives in the Dallas, TX area, would go back to coach for the Cowboys, where he was the offensive coordinator before joining the Saints in 2006. Current Dallas head coach Jason Garrett is on the hot seat with a disappointing 3-4 season so far.
It may also be an out for owner Tom Benson, who dislikes the fact that Loomis, Payton, and the current front office disgraced the franchise with Vidocin, wiretapping, bounty and Mike Ornstein-related scandals.
Alternatively, the league could rule that Payton's year-long suspension stays the 2012 contract year of his original contract, meaning that he would be held to the Saints in 2013 under the previous unearned year's terms.
The NFL reportedly voided the contract extension some time in the past year because of language that would allow Payton to walk if General Manager Mickey Loomis was fired or suspended. Reportedly, the NFL would see such language as a new and dangerous precedent for other contracts.