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The End Could Be Nigh For Payton, Brees And Loomis!


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Sorry its long, but well worth the read. It also has a great ending!

As Sean Payton remakes roster, big questions arise about Saints' future

The New Orleans Saints are a team of extremes. There is rarely much middle ground. This offseason has captured their organizational schizophrenia.

After years of loading up on salary and doling out a bounty of doomed contracts and creating a salary-cap monster, they have now swung back in a far different direction, shedding veterans who make too much money and have fallen out of favor and loading up on draft picks. It's not that they had any choice -- this purge was self-inflicted and entirely necessary and born of their own mistakes and a defense that has frankly been historically bad more often than not in recent years -- but it has been nonetheless jarring in its execution.

If nothing else, it speaks to a future that might be murkier than any in the NFL. I wrote very early this offseason about the 49ers and Saints being poised for a quick remake given the way their salary and cap structure played out, and thus far it has been as expected. But that only serves to beg the question -- what's next? And what's next for coach and organizational power Sean Payton in particular.

With the fight for ownership of the franchise -- a literal court fight -- already ugly and bloody between owner Tom Benson and his heirs, and with so much unknown about how this long-suffering team will operate in years to come, and who will truly control the reins, the timing of the Saints' drastic overhaul speaks to their larger struggles.

As Benson, who has been forced to comply with court-ordered tests on his faculties and ability to handle the daily management of his sports and car-dealership empire, has become increasingly hands off in recent years, it's well known in New Orleans how much power and autonomy Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis wield. There are few if any checks and balances from above; Payton and Loomis can more or less do as they please, and they have curried extreme favor with Benson's third wife, whom the owner recently made the beneficiary of his teams after stripping it from his daughter and grandchildren.

So, trust me, if Payton decides now is the time to tear things down and try to shift resources to his decaying defense and try to remake the roster on the fly, there is little to no pushback. And he has more than earned the right to cast the roster in his likeness, as these have very much been the salad days of Saints football, reaching heights never before considered reasonable.

But, should Rita Benson prevail over her grandfather and regain control of this franchise after his passing, it's also just as clear that the days of Payton and Loomis doing as they please are over. In fact, their days would immediately become numbered, with the unsightly court battle taking place within the Benson family these past few weeks only further illuminating the schisms and discord.

And with Payton being a Bill Parcells disciple -- a man who made wanderlust look like something of an appendage -- and with schools like Texas and Michigan flirting with him in recent years and with his coaching resume having him poised to continue to be coveted, you have to wonder if this reshaping of the Saints will serve as his swan song, or whether it's merely a much-needed transition. Should Tom Benson lose in court, of course, this immediately becomes out of Payton's hands -- the end would be near -- but let's assume the Saints' brass is confident that the patriarchs changes to his trust will be allowed to stand.

Even then, this looks very much like a fork in the road for Payton.

Loading up for Mariota?

Maybe, just maybe, he has loaded up on all of these draft picks and been willing to part with current assets to best position the team to trade up for Marcus Mariota in the draft. Maybe he's committed to New Orleans forever, and this is the way to build a bridge to the post-Drew Brees Saints and in a two-quarterback draft, jumping to second overall and doing an RG3-type trade is the thing to do.

No shortage of football execs I spoke to looked at Mariota as a terrific fit with what Payton wants to do at the quarterback position, and with the Saints now having two first-round picks and a bunch of extra mid-round selections, they could easily join the Eagles and Browns as prospecitve players for

Mariota via trade.

Because this could well be it for Brees in New Orleans.

If the Saints want to lower his cap number in future years (he is currently scheduled to count a massive $27.4M against the 2016 cap, the final year of his deal), they cannot do so without adding new seasons, and it remains to be seen what kind of financial commitment they make.

Barring them figuring out this challenging equation and committing new money to future years with a 36-year-old quarterback, then 2015 has to be viewed as potentially it for Brees with the Saints.

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Saints will move up to draft Marcus Mariota (and might deal Drew Brees).

Battista: Extreme makeover in NOLA
0ap1000000234885.jpgThe Saints are undergoing quite the offseason overhaul. Judy Battista explains why this situation is so unique -- and so fascinating. READ

As you've no doubt noticed, the Mickey Loomis/Sean Payton brain trust, which spent the last several years jamming the roster with lousy contracts, has spent the last couple of weeks trying to purge those deals and, apparently, remake the team's identity. They've notably brought back Mark Ingram and inked C.J. Spiller to go along with promising sophomore WR Brandin Cooks, moves that are certain to inform a new offensive approach going forward. They've also added a second first-round draft pick (along with center Max Unger, in exchange for Jimmy Graham).

From the outside looking in, then, the Saints are pulling the Band-Aid off quickly. So why not go all the way and reboot the franchise at the sport's most important position by combining those two first-round selections for the Oregon QB? In fact, why not unburden themselves of the albatross that is Drew Brees' weighty contract? I know this is hard to hear, Saints fans, but your 36-year-old hero is coming off a down year (by his standard, at least) and brings a $26.4 million cap hit this year ... plus an even bigger one in 2016. Maybe the team can scratch out a division title this season, but -- hold your laughter -- the NFC South isn't guaranteed to be crummy in 2015 just 'cause it was in 2014. (In fact, bounceback seasons for Carolina, Atlanta and Tampa Bay all seem plausible.) Either way, if Loomis is being honest with himself, he knows a Lombardi isn't within reach this year. Right now might be the right time to send Brees to the Redskins or Jets -- whose owners both like making a PR splash -- while transitioning to a new era.

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They say that your libido declines as you get older (for men) but the older I get the more I appreciate stuff like this. And is there anything greater than big naturals on a beautiful woman? (along with a big butt, but that goes without saying)

Not a thing! I happen to be a huge fan of tig ol Bs!

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Judy - 36 year old quarterback coming off a down year?

Most yards passing in the nfl despite having a weak o-line

Nearly cracked 5,000 yards again

Love to do that poorly

He did under perform but he will ride off to the sunset a Saint

This city would flip if he was gone

All the moves now are for his cap hit next year

No restructure so they can build for the future in the next few years

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So right! And tho I may be wrong, it looks like it could be male. I lived in Asia too long, I gets suspicious.

Don't do that to me. With that kind of paranoia running through my head, I'd never get undressed w/ a girl again with the lights OFF. Edited by BayouBengalz
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Don't do that to me. With that kind of paranoia running through my head, I'd never get undressed w/ a girl again with the lights OFF.

Oh, the stories I could tell from the stories I heard in camp! If you ever go to Asia, that would be smart, especially since most of the she-males are more gorgeous than the shes! I had an inferiority complex the whole time I was there!

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Oh, the stories I could tell from the stories I heard in camp! If you ever go to Asia, that would be smart, especially since most of the she-males are more gorgeous than the shes! I had an inferiority complex the whole time I was there!

Got it! If I ever go to Asia, make sure I purchase a peniz scanner first. Edited by BayouBengalz
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