NFL: No determination on Payton's status

November, 4, 2012
11/04/12
12:41
PM ET
After news broke Sunday morning that New Orleans coach Sean Payton’s contract had been voided, the NFL said no determination has been made on the Payton’s status for next year.

"All contracts between clubs and their employees must be approved by the commissioner, and we do not comment on specific terms of individual contracts," the NFL said in a statement. "Any comment regarding the matter should come from Coach Payton and the Saints."

Payton is scheduled to attend Gleason Gras in New Orleans on Sunday and I know some local reporters are heading out there to see if he’ll comment.

There also are questions about whether Payton’s 2012 contract would toll (or carry over) to 2013. When a player is suspended for an entire season, his contract automatically tolls to the next year. But it’s unclear if the NFL uses the same protocol on a suspended coach.

The thing that strikes me most is that this situation is even hanging out there. It should have been resolved soon after the league reviewed the contract extension Payton signed last year.

I’ve seen plenty of situations in the past when a new player contract contained something the league didn’t like. In virtually every one of those situations, the league has raised its concern and the team and the agent that negotiated the contract either remove or re-word the contract language to make it suitable for the NFL.

I’d like to know the story behind that one. Payton previously has said he planned on returning to the Saints as soon as his suspension ends. But this at least makes you wonder if Payton set himself up to be a free agent?

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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