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Could trading Sean Payton be the answer for the New Orleans Saints?

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With another 0-2 start to the season, has Sean Payton been around long enough to see himself become a villain to the New Orleans Saints franchise?

The key to fantasy football is not getting too attached to players and being able to make moves that anticipate the future. While this isn’t fantasy, the same concept still applies. The Saints, under Sean Payton, are now 0-2 for the 4th season in a row. At this point to finish the usual 7-9 even seems lofty.

The Saints have finished with that same record since 2013’s 11-5 finish  which was also our last appearance in the playoffs. It is time to start thinking about the future and making moves that prevent losing records that go from bad to worse. Change is now imminent. Even if it means getting read of the players or coaches we love the most. 

Picking up where we left off

Around Week 17 of last season, there were rumors about the possibility of trading Sean Payton. Now after the rough start, it is time to once again fire up the rumor mill. Last season reports of interest in Sean Payton came from the Rams, Colts, 49ers, and Chargers. Larry Holder, a reporter, broke down how a move for a head coach would go, “The way a deal would work, theoretically is the team and the Saints would agree on compensation first (draft picks or players). Then, the new team and Payton would work out a contract. Finally, the Saints would receive its picks.”

I imagine for this to occur, it would look similar to the move that brought Jon Gruden from Oakland to Tampa Bay. During this trade, Tampa Bay sent 4 draft picks (2 first rounders, 2 second rounders) and $8 million dollars. While 4 picks and $8 million may not be as reasonable in this circumstance given our record, a good deal still could be made. 

Financial reasoning

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That’s not all. Trading Payton could also benefit the Saints financially by freeing up to $40 million in cap space. Not to mention with Brees entering into free agency after this season, it would allow for a lot of extra funds to expedite the rebuilding process if he chooses to leave. So we must decide on what we want our future to look like. With yet another poor start defensively it may be time to deal those that build the franchise in order to preserve the franchise.

Take the Patriots most likely losing their star cornerback Malcolm Butler after this season (and were willing to do it this past offseason as the Saints made serious moves to acquire him) for example. This was something they predicted to happen in the future. So in preparation, they went out and bought Stephen Gillmore one of the top free agent cornerbacks. If we want to contend with the best we must start running our organization like the best. 

The Options

After many years of interchanging defensive coordinators and moving around players, the Saints defense still shows very little sign of improvement. The worst part of this is that the common denominator is, unfortunately, Sean Payton. Could the defensive issues all start with Payton? Regardless of the issue, the Saints are in need of a new direction defensively if they want to remain competitive. To do this, however, it may mean dealing our best asset. Here are some possible targets if we were to trade Payton based off interested teams.