Offensive line coach Aaron Kromer has left to become the Bears offensive coordinator.
Defensively, the Saints allowed 7,042 yards, the most ever in a season, under first-year coordinator Steve Spagnuolo but also improved enough to later record the club's first shutout in 17 years.
"This meeting we're going to have is going to be painful," Payton said. "We've got a lot of tough meetings ahead. That's what 7-9 is. Those are our biggest challenges."