Bounties NFL wide problem; Breaking the locks off Saints "Bounty Gate"

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New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams celebrates with linebacker Jonathan Vilma (51) after a defensive stop. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Recently a black cloud has covered the New Orleans Saints franchise and no, this isn’t the Saints placing the exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Drew Brees or the potential loss of guard Carl Nicks or wide receiver Marques Colston to free agency.

News surfaced a few days ago about the New Orleans Saints and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and use of a “bounty system”, referred to as “Bountygate.”

The investigation included the review of approximately 18,000 documents totaling more than 50,000 pages,  as well as interviews of a wide range of individuals and the use of outside forensic experts to verify the authenticity of key documents.

After a lengthy investigation conducted by the NFL’s security department, the league announced Friday that 22 to 27 defensive players on the New Orleans Saints maintained a “pay for performance” program that included “bounty” payments administered by then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons.

The program runs in violation of league rules, and the investigation showed that Saints players received $1,500 for a “knockout” hit and $1,000 for a “cart-off” hit with payouts doubling or tripling during the team’s three playoff appearances.

A memo sent to clubs throughout the league included a statement on how Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma put up $10,000 cash as a bounty before a playoff game, a source familiar with the memo told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora.

You can read the full press release here.

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Tags: 2009 Nfl Playoffs Arizona Cardinals Bountygate Brett Favre Buffalo Bills Collective Bargaining Agreement Gregg Williams Kurt Warner Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints Roger Goodell Tracy Porter Washington Redskins