NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A well-travelled friend of mine in the coaching fraternity has long lived by the mantra, "never fear to negotiate." If the Rams request to interview Sean Payton and the Saints grant the commencement of that negotiation, much could be revealed.
Only by allowing it to take place could the Saints find out what his departure could command in a "trade" - what they would gain and what they could save in giving it their blessing. Only by allowing it to take place could Payton satisfy his apparent curiosity about his worth on the open market and whether the grass, the gratitude, and the gratuity truly are greener out West.
At first blush there would seem to be no downside - no reason to fear negotiating for any of the parties involved. But what if no deal with the Rams results? Can such an overt flirtation be dismissed and the marriage between the Saints and the most successful coach in their history resume unaffected?
Should permission to interview with the Rams be requested and granted, it would confirm the Saints' willingness to move on from Sean Payton and he from them, despite declarations to the contrary affirmed by a multi-year, multi-million-dollar contract extension less than one year ago.
Under those circumstances, his loyalty to the team and it to him and their future together would be called into question with every defeat in 2017 and with every dispersion of every rumor/report of vacancies pending elsewhere.
What effect would that have on the team's support in the stands and its position in the standings?
Only negotiating can reveal the truth…the truth, but not the consequences.