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The different routes to success the Saints can take after the Payton-Brees era

The Sean Payton-Drew Brees era finally came to an end on Tuesday. Payton announced his decision to step away from coaching football after being a part of the Saints organization for 16 years. During his tenure, the Saints became one of the National Football League’s elite franchises. New Orleans won a Super Bowl championship, seven division titles, and multiple seasons with at least 13-wins.

Now that Payton is no longer the head coach, which approach will the Saints utilize to maintain their level of success in today’s landscape of the NFL? Right now, there are many theories on how New Orleans needs to trade their best players on the roster and start an immediate rebuild.

Until the executive vice president and general manager Mickey Loomis explains the intent of how things are going to look without Payton, no one will honestly know how the Saints will navigate through the next era of football. Let’s examine the two different routes the Saints can take to continue their level of competition in the league that we have witnessed over the years.


One of the biggest takeaways from Payton’s tenure in New Orleans is that he left the franchise in far better shape than what he inherited back in 2006. Despite everything that went against them in 2021, the Saints remained competitive for the entire season. However, their four-year run of qualifying for the playoffs and reign as NFC champs ended. On the bright side, New Orleans finished the season with a 9-8 record, and if things had gone a different way in Los Angeles, they would have clinched a playoff berth.

The way the team finished the year led to the optimism of what could be accomplished with a few improvements on offense. As it stands, the Saints are at least three to four players on offense away from becoming a top team in the NFC once again. The salary cap constraints remain, but the cap has never prevented New Orleans in the past from making the moves that they wanted to make.

Suppose defensive coordinator Dennis Allen becomes the Saints’ head coach, and most assistants remain. In that case, it will tell you everything about how the organization feels about moving forward without Coach Payton. Also, if they decide to hire someone outside of the organization, such as Eric Bienemy, Brian Flores, or Doug Pederson that doesn’t necessarily mean the team will rebuild.


Sometimes the best course of action is for an organization is to rebuild the entire thing from the ground up. Successful franchises such as the Golden State Warriors and the New England Patriots have experienced short rebuilds that allowed them to become playoff contenders once again. Could the Saints follow the same path?

One thing for sure is that it would be a hard pill to swallow for the Who Dat Nation to endure a potential 7-10 or 5-12 season. However, the benefit of having a double-digit losing campaign is that a team is awarded a higher selection in the NFL Draft. The 2023 draft will feature quarterbacks such as Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. Both signal-callers are projected to become top five picks in the draft.

Here’s another way to look at Coach Payton moving on from the Saints. If he decides to coach football with another team in 2023, New Orleans will receive compensation from the team that wants his services. The compensation is most likely to come in multiple first-round draft picks. The draft picks combined with the possible selection of Stroud, or Young could result in another historic class for a Saints team that has been known to find elite talent in the draft. Depending on the philosophy of the new head coach, New Orleans could be back in the Super Bowl conversation within three years. That’s not too bad for a rebuild.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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