STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
While the 2011-2012 season ended in heartbreak to San Francisco in the NFC Divisional Round, that was just the prelude to one of the most tumultuous offseasons in NFL history. First, the Saints were forced to place their franchise tag on All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees. This paled in comparison to the pay-for-pain bounty scandal that broke a few weeks into the offseason. As a result of “Bountygate,” head coach Sean Payton and linebacker Jonathan Vilma were both suspended for the entire 2012 season; GM Mickey Loomis received an eight-game suspension; assistant head coach Joe Vitt (who will replace Payton as interim head coach upon finishing his suspension) was docked six games; and DE Will Smith will miss four games. In addition, the team received a hefty fine and forfeited its 2012 and 2013 second-round picks.
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