6 More Days? No Reason To Panic
By James Benoit
There has been so much talk this off-season about Drew Brees and his contract situation that it’s almost impossible to go to a New Orleans news site, blog, TV station, or radio station not talking about the situation that is just 6 days away from being resolved.
I don’t think the New Orleans Saints are taking their sweet time because they think it’s fun to toy with Brees and the media. I think it’s a calculated and carefully timed process in which they’re letting things play out as they should. For one, the salary arbitration that Drew Brees was going through had to be solved before moving forward in contract negotiations for the current year and beyond.
Anyone who has watched the New Orleans Saints meteoric rise to prominence since 2006 knows all to well what Drew Brees brings to the table:
- 201 of his 281 touchdown passes have come in a black and gold uniform.
- He is the only quarterback to ever enjoy two seasons of a 70 + completion percentage.
- He hasn’t thrown for fewer than 4,388 yards since coming to New Orleans.
- His career highs in rating, attempts, completions, yardage, and touchdowns have all come while in a Saints uniform.
- His off-the-field success, and what he brings to the community is absolutely vital to the city of New Orleans. With his Brees Dream Foundation, and several other philanthropic efforts, New Orleans has bounced back from Hurricane Katrina with grace.
- He won the franchise’s first Super Bowl!
Someone who may be unfamiliar with New Orleans culture may see football as secondary to all the things that have come to make New Orleans what it is today. I’d argue that that is not only completely unfounded, but also totally false. The people of Louisiana, and many others from outside the state’s borders know that Black and Gold, Who Dat Nation, and New Orleans Saints football are synonymous with the great Crescent City.
My prediction is that Brees will go unsigned until the final hours. It’s not because he is undervalued. It’s because, in my argument, the New Orleans Saints brass, from Tom Benson all the way down to the water-boy – they ALL want to do their due diligence in the process of keeping Drew Brees around until the end of his playing days in an NFL uniform. That means moving existing contracts around, and creating cap space for the ability to acquire future talent to surround Brees with. All this while trying to maintain an organization that is at the top in performance as well as class.
I’d argue that signing Drew Brees before this point would have been a slap in the face of sorts. Follow me on this logic for one moment. If you were putting forth your best years at a company and they came at you with a quick offer, would you feel slighted? Chances are, if it was significantly more money than you’d seen before in your career you’d jump on it. However, a more clever person in that situation might say, “Let me do my homework and see what else is out there on the table before I willingly accept, and tie myself down here.” It’s not just as simple as Brees or the Saints are trying to get the biggest bang for their buck here. It’s that both sides have done their homework – the New Orleans Saints in saying to Brees we value you enough to allow this arbitration to happen before we make you a quality offer so that you can see we’re not just going to low-ball you here. Drew Brees did his due by basically saying hey, if I’m going to spend the rest of my time in the NFL here, I want to be justly compensated for it.
If it were me, I wouldn’t panic. I’d sight back and be thankful that the New Orleans Saints are doing exactly what they should, courting Brees slowly, to make sure they have him in the fold for the rest of his career. Not to worry, you’ll see Drew Brees in a New Orleans Saints uniform this year, and for many, many years to come.