know that it was a detriment or a positive," Payton said of luring free agents, most notably quarterback Drew Brees, to New Orleans in light of the plight of a city trying to reconstruct itself. "At the end of the day, the player on the market is looking for the right fit (on a team) and the right amount of money.
"I don't think if affected us as much as I thought it might."
The Saints lost two free agents of note: Center LeCharles Bentley and linebacker Darren Howard, but that mostly had to do with those guys being paid big money. But they were able to sign Brees and do have the second pick in the draft. And believe me, signing Brees does not preclude the Saints from selecting Matt Leinart in the first round.
They also have signed running back Michael Bennett, wide receiver Chris Horn and Fujita, not to mention Tuesday's offer sheet turned into the league on Davis.
So life in New Orleans and away from The Ranch for Payton seems to be moving on nicely. He's already had his first mini-camp this past weekend, getting a chance to actually see his players in football-like conditions before heading into his draft meetings.
Not only is Payton integrating himself into football with the Saints, getting on the same page with GM Mickey Loomis, but also into the community. And he's learning fast.
The people of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana love their football, and despite the limited success, love their Saints, too.
The people there, in the city, and in the organization, will do just about anything for you. Just ask.
There is no perfect place to live, no matter what anyone tells you. He has now experienced earthquakes working in California, tornados in the Midwest and Texas and terrorist attacks in New York. So bring on New Orleans.
There is no such thing as a bad restaurant in New Orleans. Just go in and order, and you'll love every bite. Those people can cook, for real.
And as for being indoctrinated into the culture of eating crawfish, Payton said, "I haven't eaten crawfish yet. I'll have to have a couple of beers before I eat crawfish."
Yeah, you wait. He'll be sucking the heads in no time, that Sean Payton.
|Sources say Keith Davis' offer sheet signed with New Orleans is closer to a two-year, $3.1 million deal. And here's the catch: Instead of a signing bonus, that $1.2 million up front is a roster bonus, meaning that combined with the $825,000 first-year salary ($925,000 the second), his 2006 cap figure would be $2.025 million. That's considerably more than his $721,600 restricted free-agent tender the Cowboys planned on paying him, but when you look at the numbers, the Cowboys likely will match the offer. If not, the only safeties under contract for this year are Roy Williams, Justin Beriault and Willie Pile. Davis is worth the money in special-teams play alone.|
|For those of you wondering if Brad Sham will continue as radio play-by-play guy after the change in flagship stations to The Ticket, KTCK-AM, he is. Not to worry. Negotiations continue with Babe Laufenberg as the analyst.|
|In case you didn't hear, the 32 NFL club website directors gave DallasCowboys.com the "Best Content" award at this week's NFL Business Summit being held in Dallas. Nick and I would certainly like to thank our army of interns you guys have been reading, Chad, Erin, Sarah; also Brad for his columns during the season; and especially Rob. Without him, we could not have put up the volume of quality content we did during the season.|