There has been much made about the “elephant in the room” regarding New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his rumored extension that has been vastly written about since before this past season ended.
I’ll be the first to say that I was on edge about going ahead and locking up the franchise QB for New Orleans, not because I was nervous he’d leave; but since if it were left up to me, I just like to ‘nip things in the bud’ so to speak and not have it hanging over my head.
Deep down, I knew what the narrative would be if Brees entered this season to play out the last year of his contract and potentially become a free agent.
The media would grab it and spin tales even before the season got to the mid-way point; with potential landing spots on other teams complete with photo-shops of him wearing different uniforms, as well as speculation as to what will the Saints do now at quarterback — and blah, blah, blah.
Jan 6, 2016; Metairie, LA, USA; Sean Payton talks to the media after announcing he will remain as the head coach for the New Orleans Saints during a press conference at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
I mean let’s get real: you saw what happened with the “Where will Sean Payton go?” narrative following the 2015 season, so this would be ten times that.
The options on if Brees were to leave the Saints are a bit grim obviously and I covered that last week in an article that proposed the big “IF“.
But as the days are rolling on now towards training camp, one thing is becoming more clear in that the situation with Brees will work itself out sooner or later; although I’m sure fans would prefer the sooner to occur, which is understandable.
I’ve heard the analogies of the current progress being made on the extension talks being akin to a “showdown” of sorts — which in a way is accurate as Brees, or more specifically his agent Tom Condon, hash out the numbers with general manager Mickey Loomis.
A “deadline” has allegedly been drawn in the sand when Brees made the statement that he won’t negotiate or think about discussing a new deal once the season has started.
Yet even if that is true, it’s still quite a ways away.
As far as a “showdown” is concerned though, there isn’t a true one in the sense of steely-eyed gunfighters locked in an epic standoff reminiscent of the finale of the classic 1967 Western film “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”.
January 22, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Team Carter quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints (9) during the 2015 Pro Bowl practice at Luke Air Force Base. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
A deal will get done between Brees and the Saints in some way, shape, or form between now and free agency of 2017 — which is the only real deadline if you want to view it that way.
People may be spilt on who they think Brees is: which is savior and adopted son of New Orleans verses an athlete who is concerned about getting compensated for his talent.
The answer really is that he is both.
I think Brees truly loves the city and wants to remain, as well as retire, a Saint — while also making sure that his family is well taken care of following his final snap in a black and gold uniform.
Let’s face it: Brees can not live by Jimmy John’s alone…or AdvoCare…or Walk On’s.
I guess what I mean is that a business or endorsements can fail or fade, but the true ‘nest egg’ is nitty gritty cash money in the bank or in contract terms, “guaranteed money”.
Speaking of that, in a recent article by Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, he detailed that this number can possibly go up to or beyond the $65 million mark in a new contract for Brees which could part of a new 4 year deal that goes between $95-$100 million.
Oct 4, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates as he leaves the field after throwing his 400th career touchdown to win in overtime against the Dallas Cowboys at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Cowboys 26-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Robinson makes the obvious point that this big number is the sticking point for the slow contract talks, but looks to a positive note as well on the other side of the coin; which is the upcoming 2016 season.
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The mantra of me or anyone wanting a quick resolution between Brees and the Saints could work in the favor of the franchise by seeing what type of season he has in 2016, thereby determining his value.
Let’s face it: Brees will warrant a big contract no matter and the Saints will pay him for it; but if he shows what is considered to be a decline, which Robinson pointed to Peyton Manning in his final season last year as an example in the article, then the numbers will change slightly.
A big reason why I’m not worried about the new lease Brees will get from New Orleans is how I’ve seen him in post practice interviews at OTA’s.
He looks generally excited — or dare I say giddy — when asked about new additions like linebacker James Laurinaitis or rookie wide receiver Michael Thomas and how they are all clicking or challenging each other.
Nov 8, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) and head coach Sean Payton celebrate after a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the first quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Brees’ bond with Payton is something else that won’t easily be broken with the crunching of numbers; and if the head coach knew a fresh deal couldn’t be worked out with his star player, then he wouldn’t be long for the road either.
Instead, Payton endeared himself even more with a contract extension of his own a few months back; and while it may not be a 100% guarantee, it makes the two a “package deal” — meaning you can’t imagine Brees playing for any other coach besides Sean.
Fans of the New Orleans Saints should take heart that no matter if it’s next week or next year, the Brees contract situation will work itself out in some way…..