INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 30: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
When I first "liked" Drew Brees' Facebook fan page, I didn't anticipate that my news feed would soon become filled with status updates from the Super Bowl winning and record setting quarterback singing the praises of Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches. Here is one of the fiercest competitors, going through intense contract negotiations with his team facing serious charges for operating a "pay-to-injure" bounty program and he is getting all giddy about a new sandwich shop opening up in Metaire.
Brees' priorities just didn't seem to add up. Besides, looking at the situation from a strictly culinary standpoint, it also seemed unusual that in a city with so many original restaurants and po-boy shops, Brees was getting this excited about a new sandwich shop franchise location. I didn't give Brees' seemingly odd behavior too much thought besides just wondering just who in the hell Jimmy John was and if he could hold a candle to Jared from Subway. The way I see it, we all have our own quirks and Brees' sandwich obsession made him just like the rest of us.
News reports came out that Brees was scheduled to appear before New Orleans City Council to seek a zoning change for opening a Jimmy John's location Uptown on Maple St. His Facebook posts now made more sense. As expected, City Council unamiously granted the zoning change approval. Apparently, Brees has no problem with having a franchise tag when it comes to selling sandwiches.
Should the Saints front office take a clue from New Orleans City Council? I realize that statement may sound insane, but if they offer Brees rent-free Jimmy John's sandwich stands located throughout the Superdome and in Champions Square on gameday, it could be the true "'carrot" Brees is seeking...or piping hot stack of roast beef and pastrami to be more specific. The revenue generated from sandwich sales is bound to help close the gap between what Brees is asking and what the Saints are offering, in addition to providing valuable marketing for his other locations. Saints fans attending the game would undoubtedly want to show their appreciation for Brees by buying his sandwiches, as it gives them an active role in keeping Brees wearing the black & gold. I just hope with all those Jimmy John's sandwiches around, Brees is able to keep his mind on the game.
The July 16th signing deadline is rapidly approaching and the front office is obviously still balking at matching the figure requested by Brees and his agent Tom Condon. Mickey Loomis, given your reluctance to pay Brees the salary he is asking for, please consider this suggestion to offer Brees the rights to operate at least a dozen rent-free Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich stands throughout the Superdome and Champions Square on gameday. It would obviously have no impact on the salary cap.
With apologies to Taco Bell's advertising slogan, sometimes you do need to think inside the bun (or loaf) because getting Brees signed to a long-term contract would be the greatest thing since sliced bread.