Saints Fined $700K, Will Forfeit 2022 NFL Draft Pick for COVID-19 Violations

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2021

New Orleans Saints helmets before an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
Bill Feig/Associated Press

The New Orleans Saints will have to forfeit a pick in the 2022 NFL draft after COVID-19 violations during the 2020 season.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the NFL announced that the Saints will surrender a 2022 sixth-round pick in addition to paying a $700,000 fine.

Per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Rapoport, the Saints violated COVID-19 protocols on three separate occasions during the 2020 campaign.

Saints head coach Sean Payton did not properly wear his face covering in Week 2, resulting in a $250,000 fine for the team and a $100,000 fine for Payton, and the team had a maskless celebration following a Week 9 win, leading to a $500,000 fine.

The third violation saw a person who was COVID-19 positive and not employed by the team enter the team facility and infect running back Alvin Kamara. The interaction was captured on video.

As a result, Kamara and essentially the entire Saints running back group had to miss the team's Week 17 game against the Carolina Panthers.

It was also originally announced that the Saints had been docked a 2021 seventh-round pick because of their second violation, but the NFL later rescinded that penalty.

Instead, the Saints will be short a draft pick in the 2022 NFL draft because of repeated violations.

While multiple teams were fined for COVID-19 protocol violations during the 2020 season, the Saints are the only team that has been forced to forfeit a draft pick thus far.