The reasons are twofold: For Brees, it is a matter of whether or not the team wants to take on his $30 million cap hit for next season and whether Brees will take a hometown discount on what likely will be his final contract extension. The 36-year-old will be entering the final year of his five-year, $100 million deal in 2016.
For Payton, certain NFL executives have said "never say never" when it comes to the Super Bowl winning coach moving on. Payton has been in New Orleans since 2006, which is a long time in the profession. He likely would be a hot candidate on the market and, per Rapoport, Payton is searching for potential landing spots just in case.
One of those spots could be Los Angeles and the Chargers, Rapoport noted. Payton has a daughter in school in Southern California and could walk into an ideal coaching situation if the team opts to move on from head coach Mike McCoy.
Unfortunately, the Saints have become the poster children for what not to do after winning a Super Bowl title. Coaches can get tired and frustrated and franchise quarterbacks can begin to eat up too much of the salary pie. It would be fascinating to see teams start a bidding war for his services elsewhere, but it would also be fascinating to see Brees' input on a search to replace Payton should that happen.
The pair made New Orleans history together and contributed to the healing of a severely wounded city. For that, they will always be remembered. So if Sunday is their final game, fans should appreciate what they had and not lament the fact that eventually everything changes.