Using today's numbers, the Saints could pick as high as No. 8 in the 2015 NFL Draft _lowres

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) walks off the field after their loss to the Atlanta Falcons in an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. The Falcons won 30-14. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)


The New Orleans Advocate's Saints beat writer Nick Underhill answered your questions in a live chat about the team on Thursday. Here are some of the questions and answers.

Question: Does this (Tom Benson ownership story) have any effect on the team?

Nick Underhill: Ownership changes? I think it's good news. Sounds like they want to keep the team here and all the top executives will remain in their current roles. You don't want major upheaval. Creates discomfort for all parties involved.

Question: Was this done to possibly keep the team in New Orleans forever?

Nick Underhill: Sounds like that's what the Bensons are hoping for. I think this is good news for fans. Gayle is only 67. I think you can breathe easy for a good while.

Question: How has Tom Benson looked in public appearances lately? Is it clear his health is declining?

Nick Underhill: He's looked OK. I haven't seen him much. He had some issues at training camp dealing with the altitude.

Question: We've seen ownership struggles across sports but how might this situation affect Saints coach Sean Payton, the team, etc.?

Nick Underhill: I think Payton will be fine with this change. I'm sure he insulates his players from any issues in the front office.Mickey Loomis was strong in his support. If anything, as long as this doesn't turn into a soap opera, I think it will be a good thing.

Question: Kind of weird timing for this story, eh?

Nick Underhill: Perhaps they wanted to wait until after the season. We still aren't really sure what the final straw was or what led to this. Hopefully we can figure that out in the coming days.

Question: were there ever incidents in public where Rita came off looking bad?

Nick Underhill: She ran through a lot of assistants and word is that she is not easy to work for. She was also suspended a few years ago, but she was brought back and continued to be put forth as the face of Benson's heirs to the public.

Question: Does this succession plan mean the team is DEFINITELY stuck in the Superdome?

Nick Underhill: I don't think the ownership would change that situation. That's to do with leases, etc., the city.

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