According to Mike Freeman of CBS Sports, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson is considering making Sean Payton the highest paid NFL head coach.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is currently the highest paid head coach in the league by earning $7.5 million per season.
Benson, I’m told, has long thought of Payton as the best coach in football. It was Payton, of course, who made the Saints one of the most unlikely champions in all of sports. Benson has never forgotten what Payton did and wants to reward him for that, I’m told.
Benson also feels strongly that the Saints’ slow start to the season (the team is performing better now) isn’t as much about Bountygate as it is about not having Payton for the season.
Benson, I’m told, also believes it is imperative to head off any potential suitors. Though it remains unclear what exactly Payton’s contractual status will be once he returns, Benson wants to take no chances.
Benson is also extremely loyal to Payton, a loyalty increased by Bountygate. Benson, these sources say, remains extremely irritated over the length of the suspensions. He met with Roger Goodell in August to express his displeasure.
Benson, in effect, wants to stop any possible end run around him to get to Payton. While Payton’s name has been linked to the Dallas Cowboys, the belief around the league is the best possible suitor is Philadelphia. It appears increasingly likely that Andy Reid will be fired. The Cleveland Browns should also not be ruled out of any possible Payton sweepstakes.
Benson and the Saints don’t have any choice but to make Payton the highest paid NFL head coach. He elevated them from being one of the worst teams in the NFL to now only being a couple of years removed from winning their first Super Bowl championship.