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Why have the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees not reached a contract extension?

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You won’t like the answer.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Drew Brees has yet to be extended or restructured with the current cap hit of his contract exhaustively discussed among Saints fans and the NFL media.

I’m a little late to the game, but my thoughts are pretty simple. There are only four possible reasons for why Drew Brees hasn’t been restructured and extended:

  1. Drew Brees doesn’t want to stay in New Orleans.
  2. Drew (or his agent) and the Saints are not able to reach a deal
  3. The New Orleans Saints front office is incompetent.
  4. The Saints front office is entirely prepared for this to be Drew’s final season in New Orleans.

As strange it may be, Option 4 might actually be the most likely.

Drew has been very public about the Saints not approaching him this offseason to discuss an extension. Now while it is completely possible he is just blowing smoke (or unaware of contract negotiations taking place with the Saints and his agent), there hasn’t been any response from the Saints either. If Drew simply didn’t want to play in New Orleans beyond the 2016 season but the Saints did, they surely would have approached him by now.

That means negotiations are probably not taking place - but why not?

If the Saints were certain Drew would be playing for the Saints in 2017 and beyond, why NOT restructure and extend him now to help ease his cap his for this year? It would have allowed the Saints to make a bigger offer to players this offseason (i.e. Josh Norman) or not rely on backloading deals to retain other players. If General Manager Mickey Loomis and the rest of the Saints front office were absolutely positive Drew would be back for 2017, it would be almost criminal not to restructure and extend him now.

So we almost have to assume that the lack of talks between the two parties was purposeful on the Saints part. That means the Saints are prepared to let Drew Brees enter free agency and take his talents out of the Crescent City.

Extending Drew to what would almost undoubtedly be the largest NFL contract per year in history would obviously be a massive hit to the Saints cap next year and beyond. It looks like the Saints are preparing themselves for the possibility they find a different (and maybe cheaper) QB after the 2016 season.

Now let’s be clear: this is not to say I am certain Drew Brees will not be the Saints starting QB in 2017. I am certain, though, that the Saints are preparing for that possibility. Maybe it is because of Drew’s cost, his age, his perceived eventual decline, or some combination of the three. Maybe if Drew continues to show that those are non-issues, the Saints and Drew will negotiate a contract next offseason.

Maybe not.

The Saints seem ready to go either way.