What a difference a coach can make.
We all know about the year-long suspension of New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, but there weren't many who thought his absence would be as catastrophic to the team as it's been during the 2012 season.
Since his suspension, the Saints' offense hasn't been the same, and although Drew Brees has pieced together a few stellar outings, he went into Week 9 with a unprecedented 59.7 percent completion percentage.
Oh, and New Orleans was 2-5.
To put those numbers into perspective, Brees was completing 71 percent of his passes and New Orleans was 5-2 at this point a season ago.
News surfaced pertaining to Payton's today.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the NFL decided to void the contract extension the Saints recently gave to Payton, which, as Schefter wrote, "making the suspended head coach a free agent after this season."
Soon thereafter, the NFL issued a statement regarding the reported the contract void was made public.
Should the Saints lock up Sean Payton?
Per Albert Breer, the league said the following: "Our office has made no determination on Sean Payton’s contract status with the Saints for next year."
Either way, the Saints have to do whatever they can as an organization to keep Payton on their sidelines in the future.
He and Brees clearly have a special rapport, one that can't be rekindled with any other guy calling the shots.
The Saints' signal-caller will be 34 years old in January, so there aren't many years left in the prime of his career.
After signing him to a monster, $100 million deal this offseason, they must keep the play-caller who made him one of the game's most prolific passers.
It won't be cheap, but the only way the Saints remain viable in the future is if they break the bank on Sean Payton.
They don't have another choice.