Boca Raton, Fla. – Coach Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints have an agreement to remain united through the 2020 season, courtesy of a five-year extension.
The extension has not yet been signed, but that appears only to be a formality.
"We kind of knew that it was going to happen," Payton said Wednesday morning at the NFl owners meetings. "Honestly, we're in the middle of free agency and working on a few of these defensive players and at some point, (Saints General Manager) Mickey (Loomis) said, 'Hey, I've got to get this to you.'
"I wasn't, like, waiting every day like, 'Where's the paperwork?' because there's a protocol with the attorneys. I think, for us, it was a formality after that last week at the end of the season. It would get done.
"That stability, I don't take for granted. I very much appreciate the opportunities we have to coach, and to work with players and to work within the framework of a good group, a good organization. We're all fortunate to be doing something we love."
It was with a casual reference Wednesday morning at the annual NFC coaches breakfast/media session, at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, that Payton announced that he and the franchise engaged in extension talks after the conclusion of the 2015 season, and that he had the contract – minus his signature – in his briefcase.
"This is where I see myself coaching," he said. "I've got my briefcase somewhere, and another contract there. It's going to be for another five years and it's something that we've worked on, Mickey and I and (Saints president) Dennis Lauscha. There's so much of you in there that I don't see myself working anywhere else.
"That was something that began when the season ended, and it's a good thing. There's been really good stability and consistency at ownership; we just had dinner with (Saints owner) Mr. (Tom) Benson (Tuesday) night, and Mickey. I think that (stability and consistency at ownership) doesn't guarantee anything, but it gives you a chance. It's been very functional."
Asked when he would sign the extension, Payton said, with a smile, "I think soon. I just got it. I don't walk around and carry it."
Payton, who was hired in 2006, has compiled a record of 87-57 in nine seasons as Saints head coach. He's the winningest playoff coach in franchise history (6-4), guided the franchise to its only Super Bowl victory (XLIV) and is seven regular-season victories away from overtaking Jim Mora as the all-time franchise leader. Mora's Saints went 93-74 from 1986-96.
He has the highest winning percentage in franchise history (60.4 percent, including playoffs) and has led the Saints to as many double-digit winning seasons (five) as all other Saints coaches have combined in franchise history.
"Another five years means a lot for our program, through 2020," Payton said. "It's that stability and the vision for us to find success and get back into the postseason.
"We've had years where we've taken it for granted – '06 was a special year, it was unique; '09, '10, '11, '13 – and yet, sometimes you find yourself spending more time on trying to shake '15 or '14, more time on why we weren't good enough.
"We've got to be better at the end of games, that's for sure. In the last two years we've lost a number of them in the last five minutes of the game. But defensively, (coordinator) Dennis (Allen) and his staff, they've got their hands full. But I think we'll be able to add the right pieces."