January 1, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton during their game against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-US PRESSWIRE

Could Payton be coaching for another team next year?

According to a ESPN report, suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton’s multi-year contract extension announced last year has been voided by the NFL.

This would make Payton a free agent by the end of the 2012 season. This was not what Saints fans had in mind when they made the “Free Sean Payton” shirts.

Payton’s success in New Orleans (and its lack of success without him) would make him the hottest coach on the free agent market.

While Saints fans hope that the relationship built between Saints owner Tom Benson and general manager Mickey Loomis is enough to bring him back to the Big Easy, other teams have plenty to offer Payton as well.

Some teams that come to mind are the Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, and even the rival Carolina Panthers.

Is it a real possibility that Payton could really never come back to the Saints? It’s hard to say at this point. While Payton enjoyed success on-the-field, he’s also had to fight through adversity off-the-field which included a divorce from his wife of nearly 20 years.

Those teams could offer much more money than the Saints are able to. If it comes to that point then Payton may have to seriously weigh his options.

He has reasons for staying and leaving. The best thing Saints fans can do at this point is make some new t-shirts. The lettering: Keep Sean Payton.

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