CBS- For the second straight offseason there were back-channel communications between the Colts and Saints about a possible trade of Sean Payton, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, though the talks ultimately broke down over draft-pick compensation.
While neither ownership group was directly involved in the process, the sources said the highest reaches of the clubs were aware of the back-and-forth and that there was mutual interest in completing a deal. The two sides, however, could not agree on the value of the trade. The Saints were seeking more compensation than the Colts were willing to give up, likely asking for at least one pick in the top two rounds, and Colts owner Jim Irsay was not willing to meet that price, the sources said.
Talks with the Colts were taking place primarily with Pete Ward, the Colts' chief operating office, the sources said, who has been with the franchise for 36 years dating back to its move from Baltimore and who is very close to Irsay.
Ward acknowledged he spoke with an affiliate of the Saints regarding Payton, but said he quickly informed them there would be no further talks.
Well, this is a new wrinkle. I have grown accustomed to the annual "OMFG, Sean Payton is getting traded for far less than he is worth to each and every non-playoff team with which he has even the most minor of indirect affiliation" headline. However, I can't say I was expecting the same reporters that were responsible for those rumors to double down on them after having been proven wrong year...after year...after year. Sorry for my skepticism, but I'm not running to get the extinguisher when the boy who perennially cries wolf starts blowing smoke. Especially when those of his occupation who are far more deserving of trust piss on the makings of the fire by refuting the report within hours...
Now, it would be silly to say that the job of a head coach who was fresh off three straight 7-9 seasons was entirely safe this offseason. There's little to no doubt that the Saints discussed whether he was the right man to continue leading their football team, and - considering the lack of success recently - every single fan should appreciate the organization doing it's due diligence. That said, Sean Payton wouldn't still be in New Orleans if New Orleans was placing calls around the league out desperately trying to pawn him off for draft picks.
Forget trusting that the Saints have a clear vision for how the final seasons of Drew Brees' illustrious career is going to play out, because even Jim Irsay's drunk ass deserves the benefit of the doubt here. If the Colts held onto an unknown prospect instead of instantly upgrading their team with an offensive coach that could undoubtedly help Andrew Luck finally fulfill his endless promise then they would be even dumber than the Saints would be for making a wholesale organizational change in exchange for a player to be named later. For this to be true, the team who just canned it's GM would have had to trust their personnel department (that has, of late, turned the NFL Draft into more of a not-so-courtesy flushing of assets than a crap shoot) over the resume of the person that turned a defunct franchise into a Super Bowl winner at their expense. If that is - indeed - what happened then I thank Indianapolis for their ineptitude, but it seems a tad more likely that this is just the work of a professional turd tosser hoping that he'll finally get some of his shit to stick.