Before the 2012 NFL regular season began, the New Orleans Saints received severe punishments from the league due to the bounty scandal. The most severe of the punishments handed out by the league was suspending head coach Sean Payton for the entire 2012 campaign.
During the regular season with Payton forced to watch his team from home, the NFL voided his contract extension with the team making him a free agent. Once Payton was set to become a free agent, the rumors started to circulate about the one-time Super Bowl champion potentially signing with another team once allowed to do so.
The Dallas Cowboys appeared to be the logical choice for Payton due to his history with the team and current head coach Jason Garrett on the hot seat.
According to Payton, the 49-year-old had no intentions of signing with the Cowboys or any other team for that matter via Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com:
“There was no way I was going to another team,” Payton said in his first public statements since getting reinstated after the bounty scandal. “The issue was a minor technicality. There was a minor clause, (the media) had it right, there was a minor clause in there that wasn’t approved. What became more challenging really, was being out of the building and then trying to work through the specifics to get the contract done.”
The Saints were able to lock up Payton with a five-year contract extension making him the highest-paid head coach in the NFL. Payton will make $8 million annually for the duration of the contract and may be well worth the money considering the team taking a drastic turn for the worst without his on the sidelines during the season.
If the Cowboys had ultimately fired Garrett, Payton may have changed his stance on staying in New Orleans, but owner Jerry Jones decided to stick by his head coach for at least another year.