It’s no secret that Drew Brees is getting older and the New Orleans Saints have a long-term question mark at quarterback if or when Brees were to retire. With that in mind, this is part of the reason Sports Illustrated has given the Saints the third shortest window to win in the NFL:
Alvin Kamara has a long way to go before he hits free agency following the 2020 offseason, but like Ezekiel Elliott, we may wisely see him make a contractual stand before he’s overused (or, before the NFL market for hybrid running backs gets grinded down even further). Michael Thomas is nearing an epic payday, with the basement for wide receivers sitting around the $19 million per year mark. Drew Brees, obviously the biggest part of this, is playing his age-40 season.
The arguments here make sense, but there’s a surprising team listed at #1, with the shortest window to win in the NFL, and that franchise quarterback is significantly younger than Brees - the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott.
S.I. explains the reason for the Cowboys to top the list is not one of age, but rather a concern regarding the salary cap: Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Jaylon Smith and Byron Jones are all going to get expensive relatively quickly.
While S.I. puts a lot of weight on Drew Brees and his age, the Saints are in a similar situation with the cap that isn’t quite as close on the horizon as the situation in Dallas, but it is still concerning nonetheless. The Saints have already extended Pro Bowl DE Cam Jordan, but the aforementioned Michael Thomas is in talks for an extension, and he’s not going to come cheap. Then there’s Alvin Kamara, and the Saints will likely need to pay up to keep him a part of the offense. But what about Eli Apple? David Onyemata? Andrus Peat? Those three are all set to hit free agency in 2020. In 2021, there’s an even bigger group that includes Kamara, plus Larry Warford, Demario Davis, Sheldon Rankins, Marcus Williams, and Alex Anzalone? Behind that in 2022, you’ve got Marshon Lattimore, Ryan Ramczyk, and Terron Armstead?
Those are a lot of important players the Saints will need to lock up, or otherwise Drew Brees hitting age 42 will be the least of their concerns.