Not surprisingly, that set forth speculation as to where Payton might land after the season and how much he would be worth on the open market.
It turns out at least one owner might think he's worth more money than any other coach in the game, according to Mike Freeman of CBS:
Saints owner Tom Benson is strongly considering making Payton the highest-paid coach in football, according to league sources.
Payton wants to be the highest paid, and Benson might be willing to accommodate him. ...
Benson, I'm told, has long thought of Payton as the best coach in football. It was Payton, of course, who made the Saints one of the most unlikely champions in all of sports. Benson has never forgotten what Payton did and wants to reward him for that, I'm told.
While I'm not entirely convinced that Payton should be the highest-paid coach in the NFL—I'd lean toward Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin in that regard—you can't blame a guy for asking. After all, Payton is losing an entire season's worth of salary due to the bounty scandal.
You can hardly blame Benson for wanting to keep him in New Orleans either.
Since coming to the team in 2006 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Payton has led the team to the postseason four times, including 2009's Super Bowl championship.
After signing Drew Brees to a massive $100 million contract this summer, it seems Benson isn't afraid to spend some dough to keep the pillars of his organization in place. And no two men are more responsible for turning this team around in the past six years than Payton and Brees.
Obviously, this is a fluid situation, and it looks less likely that Payton will be wooed by potential suitors. Don't be surprised if Payton signs a very lucrative contract extension in the next several weeks or so.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets aren't afraid to get emotional after a big win.
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