New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton looks on before his team met the San Francisco Giants in their NFL NFC Divisional playoff football game in San Francisco, California January 14, 2012. (REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)
The New Orleans Saints file folder in Roger Goodell's to-do tray is thicker than anyone knew.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday that the NFL commissioner voided head coach Sean Payton's contract extension with the Saints before the bountygate scandal hit, and has yet to rule on Payton's contract status.
The league confirmed the matter is before Goodell, and it is up to him to decide.
Payton's current contract runs out after 2012, but there is no clarity as to what happens to a coach or any other non-union NFL employee who is suspended for an entire season, as Payton is.
"When a player is suspended, their contract essentially is pushed back a year," NFL.com reported. "It's believed the same logic will apply here "¦ meaning the coach would be under contract in New Orleans through the 2013 season."
Goodell voided Payton's contract because of "one specific clause that would have enabled Payton to walk away from the deal if general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended, fired or left the New Orleans organization," according to Schefter's sources.
"The league believed that any such language (would) set a bad precedent."
Strangely, the Saints and Payton did not just remove the offending clause and resubmit it for league approval, as is the case with all NFL contracts. Both sides haggled over the clause, to no agreement.
In March, Goodell suspended Payton for the entire season and Loomis for eight games -- among other suspensions -- for their roles in the pay-to-injure scandal in New Orleans.
Payton responded to the report by telling Fox Sports' Jay Glazer that "I absolutely plan on being a New Orleans Saint" after this season.
Speculation, though, immediately went wild that Payton would become candidate No. 1 should Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones fire head coach Jason Garrett after the season. Payton was an assistant in Dallas before New Orleans hired him away.
NFL mulls new spring feeder league
The NFL is considering launching a new spring feeder league.
In the wake of past failed spring pro leagues, such as the independent USFL and the NFL's World League of Football, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported Sunday that "there are people within the (NFL's) competition committee who believe there could be a four- to six-team bus league."
Games would be played in the spring, and teams would be based in smaller, geographically close U.S. cities so "scouts could be there," La Canfora said.
"This is something that could come before the owners for a vote in the spring at the ownership meeting," La Canfora said.
That is, if owners can come to a consensus on how to proceed.