Speculation on 2013 if the Unthinkable Happens with Brees in 2012

Will that "c" on his uniform stand for "C-ya!" in 2013? (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Drew Brees

In a new post, Mike Florio goes down a road that I've been wondering about for a while now:

What happens in 2013 if Drew Brees refuses to sign the franchise tender and sits out the 2012 season?

He analyzes the NFL's labor agreement to give us the details, which follow after the jump.

Section 15(c) of Article 10 is the applicable one, and according to Florio, while it does allow the Saints to tag him again, it contains a provision that only allows the Saints to apply the nonexclusive franchise tag to him, and he points out that compensation the Saints would then receive if Brees is signed away by another team is reduced from two first round picks:

Section 15(c) contains a much more troubling provision, for the Saints. If Brees hold (sic) out for all of 2012, the Saints would be prevented from using the exclusive version of the franchise tag on Brees in 2013.

It gets better (or, from the Saints' perspective, worse). If Brees never signs the 2012 franchise tender, the compensation in 2013 would drop to one first-round pick and one third-round pick.

What does Florio think this means?

First, he seems to think this lowered compensation makes it more likely a team would make Drew an offer they'd hope he couldn't refuse:

While the Saints would have the right to match any offer sheet Brees signs elsewhere in 2013, a new team could put together a monstrous offer - and then the Saints would have to decide whether to finally pay Brees or let him walk away.

Further...

The fact that neither the Brees camp nor the NFLPA have leaked this specific tidbit could mean that Brees has no real intention of sitting out the full season, contrary to reports that he won't sign the one-year tender. But if July 16 comes and goes without Brees signing a long-term deal and if he decides to exercise his right to not sign the one-year, $16.371 million tender, Brees' name could be added to the list of options for teams that need quarterbacks in 2013.

And still even more furtherer:

A lot of things have to happen before Brees would sit out the full season. But circumstances will change as of July 16. Given that Brees will have a shot at letting the market set his value in 2013 if he sits out for the full year, he could insist after July 16 on an agreement that the Saints won't use the exclusive tender on him in 2013 - or that they won't use the franchise tender at all.

* * *

I'm not putting much stock in his "what if..." scenarios of meaning and getting more worried (he goes so far as to even same some teams that might go after him in 2013 - blah blah blah), but I am interested in what the rules say for 2013, as I WAS worried he'd get to be a free agent after sitting out a year. So I feel a bit less worried, now, actually.

What about you? More (less) worried? The same? Glad to know those rules?

.

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