Drew Brees is the best quarterback in New Orleans Saints history. It isn't even close. He has led our team to two NFCCGs, one Super Bowl title, numerous post seasons, and so many NFL records it almost seems ridiculous. Yet the team has gone 7-9 the past 2 seasons and the league's leading passer in yards, wasn't able to overcome the team's horrible defense. Blame Rob Ryan, Sean Payton, the scouting department or Mickey Loomis' player/cap management, the fact remains the defense must improve for us to return to the promised land.
Despite his questionable signings of several free agents as well as resigning some of our own, Mickey has managed the cap issues every year. He did it this year without having to extend Drew for cap relief. So that means Drew's $30 mil cap hit comes off the books after this season with no repercussions for the Saints going forward. That's great news going forward, so why hasn't anything been done on his contract? Does Drew want to remain a Saint? It would definitely appear so. Does the organization want him back? Again apparently so. Do the fans want this. By and large they not only want and expect it, but are demanding so. So what is the hold up?
Well let's face it, Drew is no longer a spring chicken. Currently 37, turns 38 in January, a new contract for Mr. Brees would have to be for at least 3 more years. I don't hold with the declining faction who post this theory here and elsewhere, but the fact remains he would be a 40 year old QB by the end of a new contract. So what, you might ask. Let's look at that from the contractual standpoint. It all boils down to the guaranteed monies. Mickey could extend Brees easily for 3 years and push a large portion of the cap hit down the road. Barring any surprising falloff in play or a major injury Drew could well play till 40 or possibly beyond. Still 40 is looming and the Saints do have to start thinking of LAB, (Life After Brees). Is Garrett Grayson the answer? That yet remains to be seen. We all know Luke McCown isn't the long term solution, So Loomis, Sean, and the Saints have to take a hard look going forward. The ridiculous QB salary extensions and new deals have placed the Saints in an awkward position. Drew's own agent has brokered a large portion of these deals going back as far as Peyton Manning's contract with the Denver Broncos. And that particular deal shows the risk of signing an aging QB. Even so Drew has only missed 1 game during his amazing Saints' career. The Broncos showed the blueprint for winning a championship with an older QB at the helm, and our team has a long way to go to reach that level of competitive defensive competency. The past couple of drafts and possibly recent FA signings seem to be moves in a positive direction, but there will still be much to be done. The youth movement is ongoing for the defense as well as the offense and that is a good thing. Still it will take a couple of more good drafts going forward and ironically, the better we play, the later in the draft we have to look for new talent. The old catch 22.
So realistically it's probably going to take at least a $100 mil contract with a minimum of $65 mil guaranteed to sign Drew to a new deal. Not a deal breaker by any means, I can still see why they are willing to take the risk of Drew being a FA in 2017. Relax there is still plenty of time to sign Drew and personally think this is sound reasoning on the part of the Saints. We'll have close to an estimated $40 mil in cap space next season. When was the last time we could say that?!?! It's a gamble though. Drew "could" have an outstanding year. The Saints "could" hoist another Lombardi. The defense "could" even be in the top half of the league. If a couple of those things really were to happen, then the contract cost for Mr. Brees would be in a whole different ballpark. Drew "could" show a quick decline, (not likely). The Saints "could" have another sub 500 season, ( more likely). And the defense could be even worse than the past couple of years, (though I can hardly image it). It which case the Saints would have the upper hand in bargaining, or even, gasp, decide to move on.
In my opinion, the 2016 season is very important to Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, and Drew Brees, (and Sean and Drew are intricately linked here). So hoping for the best while preparing for the worst is a smart approach. So, will or should a new deal be done? Likely. Should they gamble on the above facts? I think so. What do you think? Debate it in the comments.