The New Orleans Saints are coming off their worst season since their 7-9 campaign in 2016, but executive vice president and general manager Mickey Loomis’ only plan to move a franchise-affiliated head coach involves a former one.
Although Saints defensive coordinator-turned-head coach Dennis Allen led New Orleans to a 7-10 record in his first season at the helm, they won three of their last four to stay at the heart of a NFC South weak through the penultimate week. of the season, and Loomis began preaching the same dedication to stability that was instrumental in promoting Allen from within in the first place.
“One of the things we’ve had going for us for the last 15 years or whatever is stability,” Loomis told reporters Friday, via ESPN. “I think that’s a hard commodity to come by in the NFL. So we’re looking for stability and that obviously starts with ownership and general manager and head coach and having a core of players that you nurture and develop. And so that’s the attitude that we have and that’s the process and those are the things that we believe in and so I expect to continue that.”
With Loomis’ approval, Allen looks set to stay on for a second year.
There will no doubt be challenges ahead for the Loomis, Allen and Saints. New Orleans enters the offseason with the most dire salary cap situation in the league and, thanks to a trade with the Eagles, no first-round pick in 2023. The team is currently spending $271.3 million as 2023 approaches, according to Over the Cap. Although NFL Network insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported in December that the league’s new salary cap could potentially top $220 million, that would still leave a ton of hypothetical work to do.
There’s no clear cut answer at quarterback either, and while the defense ranked top 10 in points and yards allowed for the third straight season, stalwarts like Demario Davis and Cameron Jordan will have both 34 for training camp next year.
Of course, a massive option for bringing an influx of cheap talent to the roster is just around the corner.
Former head coach Sean Payton, who left the club after the 2021 season but is still contract controlled by the Saints until the 2024 season, has figured prominently in the latest training cycle.
The Cardinals, Broncos and Texans have all requested interviews with him. Loomis has no intention of stopping Payton from moving to another organization, but he’s made it clear he expects to receive appropriate value — in the form of draft picks or otherwise — if he allows the biggest coach in the franchise to take over. another team.
“I want the best for him,” Loomis said. “I do. We do, collectively as an organization. He gave everything he could to the New Orleans Saints and took us to heights that the organization and the team never could. never achieved before. So I absolutely want the best for him. But I also recognize that he is a valuable asset, his contract is a valuable asset to our club, and it is our duty to maximize that. Look, I think that between quarterback or a head coach, no one has more of an impact on winning than these two guys in any So I know what he brings to the table and I know that it’s really valuable, and it’s our obligation to maximize that value if he chooses to coach again in that time frame when we have those rights.
The heights to which Payton has led the organization — his first-ever Super Bowl win in 2009, plus a 152-89 record, seven NFC South crowns and nine trips to the playoffs in 15 seasons — translate favorably to the compensation the New Orleans can hope to receive for him.
“We haven’t defined exactly what the compensation will be yet,” Loomis said of teams interested in Payton. “They are well aware that there will be compensation.”
Regardless of the eventual price tag, one thing remains clear: As Allen returns for 2023, the head coach who contributed to New Orleans’ longest stretch of success in franchise history will likely be partly responsible for the base items available in the Saints quest. to usher in their next great era.