Yesterday reports surfaced that the New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees were “a ways apart” on negotiating a long term deal to keep him in black and gold.
No one knew exactly how far apart the sides were and everything remained speculation including a rumor potentially started by SI.com senior NFL writer Peter King with number figures.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole, the Saints and free agent Drew Brees remain “roughly $5 million a year apart” on the first three years of his new contract.
Details are reported to be that the New Orleans Saints are at the $18 million in his first three seasons, which is what quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady earn total over the life of their contract.
Drew Brees’ agent, Tom Condon, is reportedly requesting $23 million dollar average in the first three years, which is the equivalent of what Manning earned in his first three years.
Will Smith has agreed to be a team player and restructure his contract in order to give the New Orleans Saints more cap space already. He alone could potentially free up somewhere around the $5 million cap mark.
The Saints could free up an additional $11 million by cutting middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis.
Parting ways with Jonathan Vilma seems unlikely however. Vilma is the leader on defense and the only one of the linebacker’s capable of play recognition and the ability to audible into the correct players.
The Saints gave Brees a six-year, $60 million contract in 2006, including $12 million guaranteed and a $12 million option bonus that was due in the second year of the deal.
The option was a precautionary measure for the Saints due to Brees recent shoulder surgery.
In 2011, Brees set NFL single-season records with 468 completions, 5,476 yards passing and a completion percentage of 71.2.
Brees completed 468 of his 657 pass attempts for 5,476 yards. He also had 46 touchdowns and 14 interceptions with a QB rating of 110.6 on the year.
According to a report from Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports, Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis thinks Brees is “very good not great.”
Therefore Loomis thinks Brees’s new contract should be commensurate with what a very good quarterback, but not a great quarterback, gets paid.
Apparently that figure is approximately a $5 million dollar distinction.
Tom Condon, Drew Brees agent, represents players like Peyton Manning and Eli Manning.
Peyton Manning turned down a five-year $100 million dollar, $20 million a year, contract. He left money on the table, accepting a five-year $80 million dollar contract, for $18 million a year instead.
Condon has said that $100 million dollars would be the starting point for contract negotiations and apparently he is attempting to milk the Saints for every penny to get his quarterback paid.
It gets interesting because the Saints offered Brees a contract before 2011 season to make him highest paid player in NFL and Brees turned it down, via a league source.
There’s no doubt in any mind across the NFL that Drew Brees deserves to get paid. This is his last big contract before retirement and the star quarterback has never made top five money through his career.
Drew Brees has said he would do anything in his power to keep the team together, this includes taking less money.
Who Dat Nation agrees and it’s time for Brees to live by his reputation as a team player and leader of this franchise.
Should the New Orleans Saints pay anything over roughly $22 million dollars or should they be forced to use the franchise tag on Drew Brees, they likely would severely risk losing guard Carl Nicks, wide receiver Marques Colston, among others.
This could be a huge downfall for the Saints should all this happen.
It would result in pricey veterans being cut, it would hurt new defensive coordinator Steve Spanuolo’s chances at acquiring new talent via free agency, it would also mean any time a player demanded more money that the Saints may not be able to afford to match it.
What does that all boil down to?
The more money that Drew Brees gets, the more we have against the cap, the less for other players.
By losing key parts that surround Brees that help create the identity that the New Orleans Saints have today, this could mean that the Saints may go from Super Bowl contenders to not even in a bid for the NFL Playoffs due to lack of talent around Brees.
The Saints will still have Jimmy Graham, but he will likely request more money next season. They will have wide receiver Lance Moore, but he has injury problems. Also, they will have running back Darren Sproles who is a huge play maker.
Drew Brees is the best player to ever play a home game in the Superdome.
He is the face of a franchise.
He made the New Orleans Saints into instant Super Bowl contenders leading them to the NFC Championship game in his first season.
His contract may also be the reason the franchise declines in the coming years.