Since yesterday multiple reports have hit the Internet that the New Orleans Saints are close to getting Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees signed and in camp.
Brees was given the franchise tag in March after he and the Saints failed to reach a new long-term contract by the leagues deadline for the start of free agency.
The franchise tag would have guaranteed Brees close to $17-million for the 2012 season, but he turned down the offer flat and refused to sign.
In 2005 Brees played under the franchise tag with the San Diego Chargers. In the last game of the season he tore his labrum, putting his football future in jeopardy.
The Chargers then tried to low ball an offer to Bress to return to the team for the 2006 season, likely as a backup to Philip Rivers.
Brees turned down the Chargers offer and headed into free agency where he ultimately would sign with the New Orleans Saints.
Simply put Brees wants the security of a long term deal to avoid a repeat of his debacle in San Diego.
That long-term deal from the Saints may be closer now than some may think, as Saints Sideline Reporter Kristian Garic, citing an unnamed source, say Brees is very close to signing.
"As early as Friday morning… or at the latest by Monday, Garic said a contract could “very possibly” be signed. He says, The two sides have really closed the gap, and it may be just minor details at this point. Click HERE to listen to Tommy Tucker’s interview with Kristian about the contract talks… Garic reports it will be in the neighborhood of $20 million dollars for the first two years.It is going surpass Peyton Manning’s average of $19.3 million annually. Kristian’s information says it will be a five year deal. Contract negotiations like this, the slightest snag can put you back at square one…these things are very fragile, but I feel good about the information I’ve learned. — via report on WWL.com"
The deal is said to be for five years with a $20-million dollar salary over the first two years, which would cement Brees as the highest paid quarterback in the NFL.
Original reports had said Brees and his agent Tom Condon were requesting up to $23-million a season. However New Orleans was offering $18-million a season.
So both parties may have made an attempt to reach some middle ground in the most recent negotiations and it would appear for now progress is being made.
It’s been a turbulent off-season for the New Orleans Saints, who have faced numerous sanctions, fines, and suspensions for a now well publicized bounty program.
Players close to the team remain steadfast that the term “bounty” has been used out of context and the NFL has blown things way out of proportion.
But getting Drew Brees back into the teams facility couldn’t come sooner, especially for a team that’s already without their beloved head coach in Sean Payton.