Book still thrown at Sean Payton: NFL upholds all Saints suspensions
Head coach Sean Payton must still serve a full one-year suspension, which will now begin April 16. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis must still serve his full eight-game suspension, while Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt must still serve his six-game suspension. Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams still faces an indefinite ban, and has not appealed.
There is still some benefit to the Saints for having appealed. While New Orleans had been docked their second-round picks in the 2012 and 2013 drafts, Goodell's decision indicated that the next-year's-draft punishment could be lessened. A Monday statement from Goodell's office said the league would "consider whether there are factors that would support modifying the forfeiture of the team’s 2013 second-round draft choice."
That means that with some choir boy behavior, the Saints franchise could get back that 2013 second-round pick, perhaps having to sacrifice later-round picks instead.
Additionally, as ProFootballTalk points out, Payton gained two-and-a-half weeks lost of salary and job time. His suspension would not have ended until the day after the next Super Bowl either way, and Payton was likely able to use the time to help secure the Saints next interim coach.
Player suspensions are probably next up. No players have been suspended yet, but between 22 and 27 players are reportedly named in the NFL's investigative findings. Current Saint Jonathan Vilma is rumored to be implicated in the report, as is former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita.
Last week's bombshell release of the Gregg Williams audio was actually not the most smoking of guns. The NFL reportedly has far harsher evidence than the infamous "Kill Frank Gore's head" clip leaked on the internet last week.
"The NFL said its investigation proved Williams and players offered money for what Williams described in the audio tape," NFL.com's Steve Wyche wrote. "The info the league had was worse than what we heard."
The Saints' off-season workout program begins next week, and may in fact begin without the Saints knowing who dat interim coach will be.