It is official – after two years of investigation the NFL announced today that the New Orleans Saints' defensive players had a “pay for performance” program with former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who offered them “bounty payments” between 2009 and 2011.
It is said that the players received $1,000 for carting a player off of the field and $1,500 to knock a player out. These payments doubled, tripled and more during the postseason.
There were also payments for fumble recoveries and interceptions, violating league rules against bonuses unrelated to a player’s contract.
All of this began after the likes of Kurt Warner and Brett Favre were knocked out of consecutive playoff games, which led to the Saints' Super Bowl win in 2009.
During the investigation it was found that players may have received up to $50,000 in bonuses and that this was not just something that went on between Williams and the players. Coach Sean Payton, GM Mickey Loomis and owner Tom Benson all were aware of this, but Loomis was the only one who tried to prevent.
Retired quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Brett Favre and injured Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
What This Means
The Saints will be the center of attention for the majority of the offseason.
Players like Drew Brees, Marques Colston and Carl Nicks will likely choose to leave.
Very few – if any, players will be added during the course of the offseason.
What Should Happen
Ex-Saints' defensive coordinator and current St. Louis Rams' defensive coordinator Gregg Williams should not be allowed to coach in the NFL again.
Coach Payton, Loomis, Benson and the organization as a whole should all be fined a MINIMUM of six figures.
New Orleans should have to forfeit their first and second round picks in both 2012 and 2013.
Any players that received money for hits or defensive play should be suspended.
The NFL is a violent game where the objective is to hit the guy to the ground, I understand that – but putting aside football ethics and morals – this is a criminal offense and there should be major consequences. There is no argument for the Saints, this IS wrong and I have lost any and all respect I had for that organization prior to this incident.