Saints, Payton agree in principle on five-year contract

While Saints’ fans won’t be seeing their favorite team in the playoffs for the first time since 2008, they did get something to be happy about Friday night.

ESPN and Fox Sports reported that coach Sean Payton, who fans feared might leave to join the Dallas Cowboys after the contract extension he received in September 2011 was rejected by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, has agreed in principle to a new deal to remain with the Saints.

Citing league sources, ESPN and Fox reported that the Saints and Payton, who is eligible to return from a season-long bounty-related suspension after the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, had worked out a new contract.

Saints spokesman Greg Bensel confirmed the extension for Payton via email to The Advocate early Friday evening.

While there were few details about the extension, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that it was a five-year contract.