The NFL is not done yet handing out punishment for the New Orleans Saints bounty program, as they will be targeting Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, and Scott Fujita as “on-field” leaders of the system.
Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma are both starters on the Saints defense, and several years ago so was linebacker Scott Shanle before a move to the Cleveland Browns.
Yesterday the NFL suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton for one year, but also suspended GM Mickey Loomis for eight games and assistant head coach Joe Vitt for six games.
Up to 26-players could face possible suspensions for their involvement in the bounty program, and currently the NFL is working closely with the NFLPA to determine the best course of action.
It’s clear however that the league will start the suspensions with Smith, Vilma, and Fujita.
The Saints are currently trying to come up with a contingency plan for life without Payton, and now must deal with perhaps losing two key defense starters simultaneously.
Over recent weeks the Saints have met with several free agent linebackers — Curtis Lofton, Joe Mays, and David Hawthorne — in an attempt to replace Vilma on the roster perhaps indefinitely.