|Goodell could decide to return New Orleans' 2013 second-round pick...but with stipulations. (AP/Getty Images)|
On Monday, three days after an appeals hearing, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the suspension for New Orleans head coach Sean Payton, assistant coach Joe Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis for their role in the Saints' bounty scandal.
The fallout: Payton is suspended for a year, Vitt for six games and Loomis for eight games (the club has also been fined $500,000 and will lose their 2012 and 2013 second-round picks), and all suspensions are without pay.
|Saints Bounty Scandal|
"The club and individuals will be expected to cooperate in any further proceedings and to assist in the development and implementation of programs to instruct players and coaches at all levels on principles of player safety, fair play, and sportsmanship.
"If they embrace the opportunity and participate in a constructive way, commissioner Goodell said he would consider mitigating the financial penalties on the individuals. In the case of the team, the commissioner would consider whether there are factors that would support modifying the forfeiture of the team's 2013 second-round draft choice.
"At the conclusion of their suspension, the commissioner will review the status of each of the three individuals to determine their eligibility for reinstatement."
That last sentence is noteworthy because Payton, Vitt and Loomis all have definitive suspensions -- a year, six and eight games. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who didn't appeal the commissioner's initial ruling, was suspended indefinitely and the line above -- "the commissioner will review the status of each of the three individuals to determine their eligibility for reinstatement" -- makes more sense in reference to his situation.
According to NFL Network's Steve Wyche, here's the thinking: "As with any suspension with players or anybody else, they're all on somewhat of a probationary period," he said on Monday's Total Access. "So they have to follow those guidelines (mentioned above) and basically be solid citizens if they want to get reinstated."
As for the possibility that New Orleans could recoup their 2013 second-rounder, technically, yes, it's a possibility but not without stipulations.
"The Saints could get it back in terms of getting back a second-round draft choice," Wyche said," but it will come at the expense of some draft picks at the other end. … Let's say the Saints do not have a good season and they have a high second-round draft pick. The league could say, 'Okay, you can petition for that pick, we'll give it back to you, but it will come at the expense of a third and sixth-round pick.'
"So the Saints would have to weigh whether that would be worth trying to get that high second-round draft pick."
There's more, of course. The NFL schedule hasn't yet been released but if the Saints have their bye week fall in the first six games of the NFL regular season, Vitt and Loomis could see their suspensions extended for a week (and the same holds for Loomis should New Orleans' bye fall in Week 7 or 8).
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