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Is Drew Brees' Successor on an NFL Roster Right Now?

While some fans focus on the draft, PayLoo's history says otherwise. Are the Saints planning on fleecing some NFL team for their next starting QB? Again?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Drew Brees is 35 and his hairline is rapidly declining (along with his deep throws), there's been some talk as to who would be a suitable replacement and exactly when that might take place. There's also the normal hand-wringing over whether or not Sean Payton can actually field a football team without Brees, along with talk of the coming "dark years" and rebuilding for the future to prepare for the inevitability of Brees no longer lining up behind center for the Saints.

My question to all that is, what team have some of y'all been watching? The Saints under PayLoo don't rebuild. They reload. Sean Payton is far too aggressive and impatient of a personality to sit around while the winning atmosphere that he's built and become accustomed, just goes up in flames while he waits for the likes of Curtis Painter or Blaine Gabbert to "mature" into the position.

Despite Sean and Mickey's penchant for going for the home run in free agency, some folks still insist that the Saints must draft Brees' replacement. In fact, some of them are so insistent about it, that they criticize PayLoo each and every time they don't draft a QB that they (the fans) believe would be a good prospect.

Okay, aside from the fact that there is no guarantee that any QB selected in the draft will be worth anything as a pro, since when did Sean Payton ever become this great QB prospect guru? Payton works best with proven players. Not so much with kids who have their heads up their rear.

I've heard Tony Romo's name thrown out there as a player that Payton developed but Romo never threw one pass in an NFL regular season game while Payton was with the Cowboys. His first year starting in Dallas was also Payton's first year in New Orleans. Yeah, he may have worked with him in practice during Romo's first two seasons in Dallas but Payton has also worked with Tyler Palko, Jason Fife, Chase Daniel, Sean Canfield, and a peanut gallery of UDFAs and castoffs from other teams during his time as Saints coach and none of them developed into anything.

Payton doesn't have time to develop raw talent at QB. He's too busy diagramming double-reverses to Josh Hill. That's why it's been sink or swim with any QB prospects that have come to the Saints. Either those guys can catch on, or Payton will move on. But, give him a solid pro with the necessary tools to run Payton's offense, then yeah, he can "work" with a guy like that. You know, like that effing midget with a surgically repaired shoulder, who was also a five year veteran and Pro Bowler who led his previous team to a playoff berth and two consecutive winning seasons before signing with the Saints

You don't "develop" guys like that. You fine tune them a bit and plug them into your system.

The Saints have only drafted one QB in the first round of the draft in their entire history - Archie Manning. They have selected 19 QBs total in 48 seasons of drafts








Ronnie Lee South




Ed Hargett




Steve Ramsey




Archie Manning




Bobby Scott




Rusty Lachaussee




Larry Cipa




Greg Kokal




Mike Rieker




Dave Wilson*




Todd Santos




Mike Buck




Gerry Gdowski




Doug Nussmeier




Danny Wuerffel




Marc Bulger




J.T. O'Sullivan




Adrian McPherson




Sean Canfield

*Note: Dave Wilson was picked in the 1st round of the 1981 Supplemental Draft*

If you pay attention to the years during which PayLoo has been together, only Sean Canfield was drafted at QB during the past 9 drafts. Mickey Loomis has only selected one other QB his entire time as Saints GM and that was 5th round pick Adrian McPherson in 2005. The only other QBs drafted during the 21st century were Marc Bulger and J.T. O'Sullivan by Randy Mueller in 2000 and 2002.

Every playoff appearance in Saints history was led by a QB who was not drafted by the team.

Bobby Hebert - 1987, 1991, 1992

Steve Walsh - 1990

Aaron Brooks - 2000

Drew Brees - 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013

The all-time passing stats in Saints history for both a season and career are dominated by QBs obtained as free agents or through trades. The only drafted QBs anywhere on those lists are Manning and Wilson.

Look, I'm not saying that PayLoo can't luck up and find some gem in the draft who turns out to be a great pro. But, I am saying that it is not in their DNA to sit around and wait for that to happen. When Brees finally does go, I fully expect them to go after a QB through FA or a trade, if they don't already have a guy in place that they trust to take over the reins and keep winning. And if they do have a guy in place when Brees retires, but, he does not get the job done during his first season as Saints QB, I would expect him to be replaced the following season. I just don't see Sean Payton sitting on his hands and taking all those losses waiting for some prospect to pan out.

Also.... (Uh, oh. You Breesites out there might wanna cover your eyes) If Drew Brees is no longer getting the job done at his advanced age sometime in the future, I would also expect PayLoo to pull the trigger on a deal that would secure the Saints immediate future and keep the team winning. Translation: Trade or Cap Casualty.


Hey, it's a possibility. Some QBs like to hang on way past their value to the team or the contract they're playing under. Strange things happen in the front offices of NFL teams when there's a divide between what a player wants and what the team wants. All it takes is that first friendly conversation about restructuring a contract and then things start to go south in a hurry.

I've seen John Unitas, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, and Joe Montana playing in different uniforms from ones in which they won championships. It can happen to anyone. Just ask Peyton Manning. Brett Favre was at one time synonymous with Green Bay before he became an attention seeking whore who was thoroughly confused about the concept of selfies.

Anyway, perish the thought. For those of you who are much more comfortable with a fairytale ending of Drew Brees retiring as a Saint and then the team finding his replacement after, or, already having a guy queued up and ready to take over, hey, we've got Ryan Griffin waiting in the wings. Um, right?

Personally, I would LOVE to see Sean and Mickey pluck a young, but veteran, talent from another team's roster just as his initial contract expires (or through a trade) and give the big ol' middle finger to the rest of the NFL by saying "Yeah, bitches. You only THOUGHT you were whining about us running up the score before. Y'all got 10 more years of this nightmare coming."

Hmmm, I wonder who's on their shopping list?