The NFL handed down penalties in the New Orleans Saints Bountygate scandal today. The penalties for the head coach, defensive coordinator and general manager were handed down about a month ago and now the NFL has decided that 4 players on the Saints will face suspension, ranging from the entire 2012 NFL football season for Jonathan Vilma to 3 games for Scott Fujita. The suspensions are without pay so the players will need to factor that into their budgets this year.
While it has not been released yet how the suspension lengths were determined our best guesstimate here at P2P4U is that the NFL reviewed some of the games and possible injuries as a result of hits from these Saints defenders. Since Vilma received a year long suspension you could guess that one of his hits on a player may have been viewed as a direct correlation to the bounties offered.
The Saints has a prolific offense but their has been where they need to step up. The suspension of Vilma will definitely hurt the Saints in 2012 as he was their starting linebacker and definitely a player that was considered one of their top guys on the defensive side of the ball. Whether the Saints decide to move someone up from their second team onto the starting team or if they will go and sign someone or trade for someone is yet to be seen.
While the action of wanting to lay out big hits and knock players out of games is common in the NFL and not a surprise to anyone, putting a bounty on this is what caused the NFL great concern. NFL contracts are not guaranteed (the non-guaranteed portions that is) so causing someone a serious injury could result in them losing substantial income and their livelihood.
It will be interested to see how the Saints respond to start the season after the trying offseason for them. They open the season at home and while they will surely put up points on the board the question is how much Bountygate has hurt them on the defensive side of the ball.
In other New Orleans news there was news out that the Saints GM had the ability to listen in on opposing teams. Whether or not the GM actually did do this, or solely had the ability to do so if he wanted to is unknown and the NFL is most likely trying to gather all the facts and interview people before making any decisions concerning this.
A lesson to be learned for all other NFL teams, all it takes is one person to slip and mention something and your house of cards can come crashing down. Teams should take a harder look at their actions and behaviors because even if you consider people in your inner circle of trust today, tomorrow they may be outside the circle and find some loose lips.