Cap Hell? What Cap Hell?
By now, if you still believe in the proverbial "Salary Cap Hell" in the NFL, then you haven't been paying attention, especially to the dealings of one Mickey Loomis, General Manager of the New Orleans Saints. There truly is no such thing as a cap hell in the NFL, not with the ever-increasing revenue, the steady rise in value of the salary cap and more importantly, the ability for teams to backload contracts and pay players exorbitant signing bonuses to alleviate cap hits.
In the case of Saints quarterback Drew Brees' 2016 cap hit however, the number is impossible to ignore: $30,000,000! But as insanely high as this figure is, Brees' agent Tom Condon seems to think that the Saints are satisfied with it.
Yup, appearing on the Rich Eisen Show yesterday, Condon said the following regarding Brees ongoing contract situation in New Orleans: "At one point, New Orleans wanted to talk about a cap re-do, and Drew was more than happy to do that...There were some intervening situations that occurred, so they didn’t need the cap room, and they seem to be satisfied with carrying that number right now."
Are you as surprised as I was to hear this? Usually agents looking for a contract extension for their clients go on the offensive, playing the disrespect card, or explaining why so-and-so team is making a big mistake by not signing their client in due time and contributing to the disruption of the chemistry in the locker room, etc...But here, Condon calmly stated that the Saints were happy to carry Brees' humongous cap hit right now. And he didn't seem all that bothered by it.
Of course, Condon said "...they seem to be satisfied with carrying that number right now," clearly hinting at the fact that a Brees extension by the Saints could still very much happen, and honestly this is what most of us expect.
However, knowing that Brees' numbers come off the books after next season and the quarterback will turn 38 in January, it may not be that crazy to think that the Saints could decide to give Brees a "let's see how much you have left in the tank" season in 2016. If they do so, the Saints would then have the freedom to either let a declining Brees walk in 2017 or sign him to a lesser deal without being hampered by the weight of the additional years that an extension this offseason would bring.
On the other hand, It could be a dangerous game if Brees has an amazing season in 2016 and then demands a really high salary again next year. The Saints in that case would have given up all leverage, they would likely lose not only a quarterback still capable of producing, but also the ability to maybe trade Brees to one of the many quarterback-needy NFL teams and recoup something for Brees before the wheels (or the shoulder) completely fall off.
This all sounds like crazy talk and maybe the Saints will extend Drew Brees by the end of the week and this is a completely pointless exercise. But the more time passes without Brees being extended by the Saints, the more people will wonder whether the cap daredevils Saints might have one more surprising offseason trick up their sleeve.
What do you think? Crazy talk or could you actually see the Saints doing it?
Note: You can listen to Tom Condon's interview with Rich Eisen yesterday by looking at archives on the show page here.