Sean Payton dismissed another question Monday about the possibility he will leave New Orleans after the season.
But the reports keep coming.
Yahoo Sports reporter Charles Robinson cited a source late Monday that there’s a 50-50 chance that Payton will return to the Saints in 2016, and that the long-time coach’s decision rests on the legal battle currently playing out between Saints owner Tom Benson and his daughter, Renee.
Benson and his children are trying to seek an agreement through a mediator in Texas to decide the future of a $1 billion trust, the trust that would essentially give the winner control of the Saints and Pelicans.
Early this year, Benson cut off his daughter and her children and transferred the trust to his wife, Gayle, a decision his daughter has contested.
According to Robinson’s report, if Renee Benson gets control of the team through mediation, Payton might be likely to leave in fear of a possible purge of employees loyal to Tom Benson. Payton has repeatedly stated his support and gratitude to Benson for hiring him a decade ago.
If the franchise changes hands, both Robinson and the NFL Network have reported, Payton has an out in his contract that would allow him to leave without the Saints getting compensation.
Payton, for his part, has repeatedly said he sees himself in New Orleans — and Robinson’s source said he didn’t think Payton was considering leaving right now — but the assumption is that an ownership change could force Payton to consider alternative options in Detroit, Miami, Indianapolis, San Diego and Tennessee, if they come open.