Adam Schefter has confirmed a report by a New Orleans television station that Saints owner Tom Benson and coach Sean Payton are meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in New York on Monday.
The parties also met over the weekend.
What’s this all about? My guess is Benson and Payton are being briefed on penalties the Saints will incur that could include fines, suspensions and the loss of draft picks. The league was pretty emphatic in placing a guilty verdict on the Saints when it first announced the bounty program. After that, Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis issued a statement in which they admitted the program existed and apologized. Same for former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
That’s why I don’t think there still is a lot of fact finding going on. There had been reports that the punishments could come around the time of the league meeting in late March.
But the fact that Goodell is meeting with Benson and Payton on the eve of free agency starting could be a sign that the disciplinary actions could come sooner. If Payton and Loomis are going to be suspended, the league might want to give the Saints a chance to set up a new structure before the league year starts Tuesday afternoon.