You’re free to agree or disagree with the punishment given to Sean Payton for his role in BountyGate, and do so passionately. But know this: it’s not changing, Roger Goodell won’t budge, and when his penalty officially starts on April 1, Payton won’t be involved with the Saints in any capacity again until after next year’s Super Bowl.

It’s a reality the Saints and their fans don’t like, but one they have to accept, and quickly. The draft is now a month away, and although that’s mostly general manager Mickey Loomis’ territory, having a coach in place prior to the draft is ideal. This is still Payton’s team, but for one year the task of developing the young men drafted at the end of April will be another coach’s responsibility.

Payton has moved on, and he’s done it so quickly that he’s trying to pick his substitute. Both Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen are reporting that Payton has approached Bill Parcells about being the Saints’ head coach in 2012.

Parcells faded into his fourth quasi retirement when he stepped down from his position as the Dolphins executive vice president of football operations in 2010, assuming a cushy gig as a consultant. Although his rèsumè is highlighted by two Super Bowl rings, he hasn’t been a head coach in six years since his time as the Cowboys’ sideline leader ended in 2006.

Known for being a miserable old man intense and outspoken, Parcells has a 172-130-1 record as a head coach. With Steve Spagnuolo in place as the new defensive coordinator in New Orleans, Parcells would have an elite mind on one side of the ball to ease his burden. The defensive-minded coach also wouldn’t have to worry much about the offense, because fate installed a new system in New Orleans. Payton was calling the plays until he broke his leg during a sideline collision, and those duties were then moved to offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr.

That broken bone has now become a cleverly disguised blessing, as Payton was so pleased with the new play-calling system that he decided to keep it in place during the playoffs, even after his leg healed. Under Carmichael, the Saints posted at least 40 points in four straight games prior to their season-ending playoff loss to San Francisco.

The pieces are in place on the Saints’ staff for Parcells to focus solely on what he does best: manage and motivate.