The Top Free Agent in the NFL Will Be—New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton?

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bill-swift - November 6, 2012

Even if a team wins the Super Bowl it will need to get better if it hopes to defend its title. The team it defeated down to the one with the worst record in the league will all want to improve so they can become good enough to knock them off their perch.

That means trying to find the best free agents possible to make up for a team's deficiencies that it can't take care of in the draft. While that usually refers to the players, sometimes it isn't talent that a team needs, but a leader that can put it all together—which is why the New Orleans Saints suspended head coach Sean Payton will be the most sought after free agent this off-season.

The value that a quality head coach brings could not be more evident than with the New Orleans Saints. After going 13-3 in the regular season last year with the No. 1 offense in the league (No. 5 so far this season) and a defense that was good enough (No. 24; No. 32 so far in ‘12), the Saints are looking like a team that needs a small miracle to make the post season.

To be fair, it is the players that have to play, but if the coach does not put them in the right spots then their abilities will not be nearly as maxmized. With the news that Sean Payton's contract extension with the Saints is null and void teams will be undoubtedly lining up in order to try and entice him out of the Big Easy.

Payton's prowess when it comes to crafting killer offenses is clear. He was the architect behind Drew Brees's record setting season last year. Before getting the head coaching job in New Orleans he was the assistant head coach/QB coach in Dallas where he actually made Quincy Carter look good and extended the already long careers of Vinny Tetaverde and Drew Bledsoe.

For the Saints organization he has done enough to achieve saint-hood. He took one of the worst teams in the history of the NFL (five post season berths and only post season one win from 1967-2005), got them back to the playoffs his first season and a Super Bowl win within four seasons.

With that kind of track record there will be plenty of organizations that would not mind turning the team over to him. Dallas is expected to make a big play for him. The pre-existing relationship with owner Jerry Jones and the chance he may want a change of scenery after the drama in New Orleans this season has fueled rumors.

If there is anyone that would be willing to money-whip a coach into ditching his current team it would be Jerry Jones.

Payton, of course, has stated that he has no intention of going anywhere even though he will no longer be under contract once the '12 season ends. The suspension bars him from having any contact with the Saints so he can't negotiate a new contract till he is reinstated.

In that time though, it would not be shocking if another team were to convince him to jump ship.

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