The New Orleans Saints are coming off one of the worst seasons in recent memory with the team finishing with a 7-9 record and missing the playoffs. Drew Brees and company were unable to rebound from the bounty scandal of the off-season with the defense becoming one of the worst in the NFL.
Head coach Sean Payton took the brunt of the blame for the bounty scandal with a season-long suspension.
On Tuesday, the suspension was lifted by the NFL according to Yahoo Sports:
Sean Payton is back as coach of the New Orleans Saints.
Payton’s season-long suspension for his role in the Saints’ bounty program was lifted by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, nearly two weeks earlier than expected.
Although the NFL have only just reinstated Payton, the Saints were able to re-sign the head coach to a lucrative contract extension.
The contract extension signed by Payton made the one-time Super Bowl champion the highest-paid head coach in the league. The new contract will pay him $8 million annually.
Payton’s absence on the sidelines was enough to convince the team’s front office he was a vital piece to the puzzle in New Orleans and merited the lucrative extension. Teams around the league considering possible coaching changes were flirting with idea of bringing in Payton, but the Saints made their intentions clear and the veteran head coach never seriously considered leaving New Orleans.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Saints are able to bounce back next season with Payton back in the fold and the bounty scandal officially behind them. Payton’s presence back on the sidelines for New Orleans should be a huge boost for this team that desperately needs to get back to form after such a disappointing season, but it remains uncertain whether or not the team can turn things around.