New Orleans Saints Bountygate Judgment Day Today? Joe Mays Says Nay
Written by  // Monday, 19 March 2012 11:27 //


I have read the tea leaves and have come up with probable penalties for involvement in the Saints' bountygate. And, according to Sam Wyche of NFL.com, judgment day could be today.

The suspensions of  GM Mickey Loomis and Coach Sean Payton will be for four-to-eight games. The NFL doesn't want to cut too deeply into the Saints' ability to be competitive in the 2012 season. Payton could receiver a lighter suspension.

About two weeks ago, Loomis and Payton issued a statement acknowledging the bounty pool from early 2010 on. They deceived the league by their part in play for pay and that will be weighed alongside their eagerness the Saints organization has shown in recent days to take its medicine and put the scandal in the past.

Most of the 22 players allegedly involved will probably be fined rather than suspended. The players, after all, were acting under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' bounty program.

But middle linebacker Jon Vilma might be an exception. He allegedly offered a $10,000 cash bounty for knocking Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC title game. Favre had to leave the game, but he returned. He later said he had suffered an injury from an earlier game.

Vilma isn't the only player expected to be suspended, but he is the only one known to offer payments as rewards from the bounty pool.

There has been talk that Williams could receive a lifetime ban for masterminding the bountygate. But that's not even seen as a punishment that could be enforced from a practical or legal standpoint, per SI.com's Don Banks, even if it could be accomplished, in effect by suspending him for a year, with the Rams firing him for cause and no other team ever hiring him. The league would not invite a legal challenge by attaching such an open-minded term to any suspension Williams might incur.

The Saints have their eyes set on defensive free agents, which makes sense because the league has its eyes set on suspending  some defensive players.

But it could be a while before the players are punished. Wyche reports that the league may take action against the non-players before it does so against the players.

LB Joe Mays re-signed with the Broncos on Sunday after visiting the Saints on Saturday.  He's one of several defensive players the Saints hosted over the weekend.  Here for visits were Seahawks LB David Hawthorne, Broncos DT Brodrick Bunkley and TE Joel Dressen. None were signed.

Saints fans believe Brees should leave enough money for the Saints who are scratching and clawing so the team can be competitive given the cap. But here's one important point: That never stopped the Colts from being competitive when Peyton Manning got every last dollar he could.

It was good that the Saints kept receiver Marques Colston, but they lost Robert Meachem. It was good that they lured guard Ben Grubbs from the Ravens, but they lost Carl Nicks, the best guard in the league.

But more importantly, they haven't done anything to address the needs of the defense. That is even more important than before once the suspensions come down.

A delay in Peyton Manning announcing which team will be his choice, the delay could partially arise from the fact he is celebrating his 11th wedding adversary...Chargers new WR Robert Meachem: "To me, I feel like a first down, OK, yeah. But a TD is better."...

Free agent Tracy Porter is scheduled to visit the Raiders' facilities in the next couple of days. Porter, 25, enjoyed his best NFL seasons in 209 and 2010 with the Saints. New Raiders coach Dennis Allen was the Sauints' secondary coach at that time, and that's a pretty strong coaching staff connection.

One of my favorite sportswriters through the years, legendary Furman Bisher, 93, died of a heart attack on Sunday at a hospital in suburban Atlanta. He spent 59 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He offered me a job on the Journal in 1963, but I chose The Times-Picayune instead. A Bisher trademark was ending an occasional column with "selah." the mysterious one-word farewell that he borrowed from the Book of Psalms. The meaning? "I have no idea," he said. "Your guess is as good as mine."

Former LSU and Packers backup QB Matt Flynn picked the Seahawks over the Dolphins and signed a three-year deal for only $19 million with only $10 guaranteed...New Orleanian S Ryan Clark decided to stay with the Steelers rather than sign with the Dolphins as a free agent. "NO ONE wants to go to the Dolphins," tweeted the former LSU player...WR Mike Wallace of New Orleans will stay with the Steelers after visiting other teams...

PFT.com's Hot 100 contains only seven RBs and six of them haven't signed with other teams as free agents. Most of them if they do sign with another team will only get one-year contracts. Advice to youngsters: If you can't throw a football over a mountain, but can catch one, play WR. If you can't, play CB...

NEVILLE HIGH'S John Diarse, who ranks as the No.1 safety in the country b y Scout.com, committed to LSU on Saturday. He was on a visit to LSU this weekend and made it official. "I committed  and gave Coach Les Miles my word, so I'm going to Baton Rouge," Diarse told GEAUXTIGERNATION. He is LSU's sixth commitment for the 2013 signing class. The Tigers also added their 23rd signee for the 2012 class in junior college transfer Fehoka Fannaika (6-4, 340). He's an offensive guard form College of San Mateo in California...

by Ed Staton and Bayoubuzz staff

New Orleans Saints: Pay Drew Brees, Pay The Man

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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