New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael on the sideline during the third quarter of a game against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

NFL fines New Orleans Saints severly; What's next for ailing franchise?

The NFL has finally handed out it’s long awaited punishment to the New Orleans Saints franchise for their involvement in a “bounty” system under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and the penalties are historically severe.

Head coach Sean Payton has been suspended by the NFL without pay for a year, and general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games during the 2012 NFL season.

New Orleans will have to forfeit a 2012 and 2013 second round pick, and the entire organizations was fined $500,000 dollars.

As far as Gregg Williams, who is currently the defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams, he has been suspended indefinitely which puts his future with the Rams and NFL in serious jeopardy.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has stated that at the end of the season he would entertain a formal review process about possibly re-instating Williams, but made no guarantee that means he will back in the league in time for the 2013 season.

On top of losing head coach Sean Payton for a year, assistant head coach Joe Vitt will be suspended for the first six-games of the 2012 NFL season.

Further discipline is expected for the Saints defensive players who participated in the program, including current starting middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma, as up to 26 current and former players could face suspensions of various lengths.

Payton’s suspension will start April 1st, while Loomis will be allowd to spend the off-season with the team before taking his leave through the first eight-games of the regular season.

The logical question for the Saints is where do they go from here, and how do they work around the suspensions of such prominent figures in the organization including Payton, the architect of the Saints potent offense.

More importantly the Saints now must decide who will coach the team while Sean is away, his suspension is effective April 1, and who will make roster moves and contract decisions while Loomis is out half of the season.

Immediately the first name that comes to mind to act as head coach is current offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr., who filled in last year after Payton’s freak sideline injury, but has little actual head coaching experience.

Vitt could surely come back from his suspensios and assume the acting head coaching duties, but it’s possible the Saints could look outside the organization for some help througout the 2012 season.

As far as Loomis’ responsibilities it’s possible the Saints could spread out his general workload over Khai Hartley (Director of Football Operations),  James Nagaoka (Director of Operations), and perhaps even owner Tom Benson and Rita Benson LeBlanc.

Quarterback Drew Brees still needs a new deal, and if there weren’t any pressure to get it done before these penalties, there is now with Loomis’ impending removal from the front office.

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Tags: Bounty Gate Bounty Program Fines Gregg Williams Joe Vitt Jonathan Vilma Mickey Loomis New Orleans Saints NFL Penalties Pete Carmichael Jr. Roger Goodell Sean Payton St. Louis Rams Suspensions The NFL The Saints

  • apackphan

    I feel the commish really came down too hard on the Saints and it sounds like he may not yet be done. Are player next? Will there be more suspensions and fines? Wow … that. is. all. And who do you think will be named head coach for next year? 

  • larryjames836

    We as New Orleans Saints fans must stand behind our team throughout the 2012 & 2013 season. Mr. Sean Patron hold your head up your team are going to make it also we are going to win the Super Bowl. The NFL commissioner Goodell could have did something else differently they know the Super Bowl is being held in the BIG EASY. Saints now is the time to show the NFL commissioner and all the HATERS we are still alive and well no one going to stop our Super Bowl run we are still the WHO DAT’S NATION. We have a important job to do heads up New Orleans Saints the dance is not over still the music stop GO SAINTS GO !!!

  • apackphan

     @larryjames836 Larry, I like what you have to say. Stay strong and never waver. This too shall pass and the Saints will survive despite Goodell’s clear intent to do harm to the team. I just hope it doesn’t end up hurting the game. No doubt the shock waves will continue to wash over the entire league.

  • TheVikingAge

    A year for Payton was a bit much. I think Goodell just likes crushing people.

  • larryjames836

    TheVikingAge, I hope they just sign Drew Brees up so the Saints can do they thang take the 2013 Super Bowl this will hold Roger Goodell mouth closed for a minute. He can’t hold a good team down post the New Orleans Saints name nation wide like they are bounty hunters. Kicking the coaching staff o
    iut of the game this not good but Brees can run the team can call plays so we had him sign up ASAP the game going on.

  • larryjames836

    apackphan, I’m all in New Orleans is my home born all raised there I know the Saints are going to be alright. Roger Goodell don’t know that until he see it with his own eyes and the others to the Saints are a hard team they have been through worse I know they can do it. Its that time of the year to show the NFL whose the best team in the NFL.

  • apackphan

    I gotta agree with everyone that the Saints got slammed, but I also can’t disagree with what Bob Costas said Wednesday night … see it here: