Will Sean Payton return as head coach of the New Orleans Saints in 2017?

It seems like that same question was being asked about 2016, following the completion of last season.

That's because it was.

Payton last offseason signed a five-year contract through 2020, reported to be in excess of $45 million, which at the time appeared to put to rest any talk about him leaving the Saints at any point in the near future.

Things change quickly in the world of sports, however, and the Saints are currently 6-8, and guaranteed to have their third consecutive non-winning season.

If they fail to make the playoffs, something that seems quite likely again this year, it would mark the fourth time in the last five years that would be the case.

So, let the yearly speculation begin!

On Sunday, CBS Sports reported could trade away Payton, and make it even more enticing for a possible trade partner looking for a head coach, by not asking for a whole lot in return.

The report states that the Saints may want to free up some money, along with restructuring their front office more, and that trading Payton would help to expedite that.

The Los Angeles Rams, who recently fired head coach Jeff Fisher, could be a potential trade partner for the Saints.

Last season, Payton was linked to many job openings, including those with both the San Francisco 49ers and the Indianapolis Colts.

The 52-year old Payton, who became head coach of the Saints in 2006, is 96-65 in 10 years, including a 90-61 record in the regular season, along with a 6-4 postseason record.

Chances are Payton will return as coach of the Saints in 2017, but anything can happen.