Sean Payton is set to make $8 million per year in his return to the New Orleans Saints, a figure that if true would make him the highest-paid coach in the NFL.
Saints owner Tom Benson and Sean Payton have agreed in principle to an extension to keep him with the team for the next five years, ESPN reports. The contract still needs the approval of the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell, who already turned down a 2011 agreement between the Saints and Payton because of a clause that let Payton leave if general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended or fired.
The language in the newest contract has been “cleaned up,” a source told ESPN.
The Saints likely wanted to lock down Payton, who would have been on of the most sought-after coaches in the league.
From USA Today:
“Without this new deal, New Orleans was in danger of losing Payton after the NFL had voided his original extension signed in 2011 as a result of the team’s bounty scandal. There’s no doubt Payton would have garnered a ton of attention, but clearly Saints owner Tom Benson saw it as a top priority to keep his Super Bowl-winning coach.
“Given the Saints’ 7-8 record and missing the playoffs while Payton has served his season-long suspension, you can’t argue with Benson’s decision to not only make the deal to retain him but also to pay top dollar.”
After leading the team to the Super Bowl in 2009, Payton became embroiled in the scandal when the team was found to be putting a bounty on hurting opposing players. Sean Payton is eligible for reinstatement on February 4 after serving a one-year suspension for the scandal.