When Should The Saints Start Grooming Drew Brees's Successor?

Will this be the post-Drew Brees face of the franchise? Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

There may be more serious matters taking place in the world today, such as: natural disasters, poverty, war, disease, and global financial instability. However, the inability so far to sign Drew Brees to a long-term contract should not be discounted as a significant source of stress and anxiety.

While it is disappointing that Brees is still not under contract, we remain confident that a deal will eventually get done. Even if that confidence is occasionally rattled by the sudden panic attack.

As Saints fans, we really have no other choice but to believe that Brees will get signed and lead the team past the Bountygate penalties and persecution that have been placed upon them. To not re-sign Brees would be an unimaginable failure. It would just be impossible for anyone to screw up that bad.

The performance and leadership Brees has provided are luxuries that Saints fans have come to expect, yet do not take for granted. Even so, to have Brees's presence taken away so abruptly after his record setting season would be just downright cruel.

The reality is, though, even if Brees re-signs before the upcoming season, he won't be quarterbacking the Saints forever. Father Time always has the last laugh and Brees will eventually have to be replaced.

Brees is 33 now, and if he quarterbacks the Saints for an injury-free six or seven more years, it would be a remarkable achievement. Staying positive that a long-term deal will get done, there is still likely a kid quarterbacking a high school or college team right now who will have some mighty big Black and Gold shoes to fill in 2020, if not sooner.

I can only recall two instances since I started watching professional football, when a Hall of Fame quarterback has been followed by another HOF quarterback (or at least a strong candidate). These two examples are referenced often by analysts with Steve Young succeeding Joe Montana in San Francisco, and more recently with the Packers and Aaron Rodgers stepping into Brett Favre's shoes, after the latter couldn't decide if he really wanted to give them up.

On the other hand, the Broncos, Dolphins and Cowboys have struggled for years to find quality replacements for John Elway, Dan Marino and Troy Aikman.

And as the Andrew Luck era kicks off in Indianapolis, the Colts are the latest team trying to replace a legendary, HOF signal-caller.

The stalled contract negotiations between Brees and the Saints does lead to disturbing thoughts. How would the Saints look without him? When the day does come in which Brees is no longer the team's quarterback, will his successor come through the draft or be acquired through a trade? Will the transition be as successful as Young taking over for Montana, or will it be years of searching to find a quarterback with the same leadership skills and of the same caliber as our beloved Brees?

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