Why the New Orleans Saints will make the playoffs: No. 2, Drew Brees


It’s difficult to find many that support New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees these days. Most members of the national media default to imminent declining play from the 36-year old quarterback, and that he’s destined for a disappointing season. However, fans and media that follow the team religiously understand that that simply isn’t the case.

It’s not a sense of naivety. It’s facts.

The drama entered the picture nearly five months ago when trade rumors surfaced that Brees could be dealt away from the Saints. The rumored suitor was the New York Jets, and that the acquired pick would be used to acquire Marcus Mariota. After that rumor dwindled, many suggested that Brees should be restructured and take a pay cut to help the Saints salary cap situation.

It wasn’t the answer. The contract breakdown for Drew Brees during his final two years of his contract gives the team options after this year.

2015: $26.4 million (Total Cap), $18.75 million (Total Base), $26.5 million (Dead Money, Post-June 1) Cap Savings = $250K

2016: $27.4 million (Total Cap), $19.75 million (Total Base), $7.4 million (Dead Money, Pre-June 1), Cap Savings = $20 million

While that salary cap figure is well accounted for this year, Brees’ contract will draw a lot of focus next season. The Saints got themselves into a mess with dead money, and are already staring at $13.7 million to start off next year’s offseason. Needless to say, general manager Mickey Loomis will have a plan of attack like he always does.

As much as I hate having to remind people, many forget that we’re talking about a quarterback who was at the top of his class last season. Brees led the league in passing last season, nearly throwing for 5,000 yards again. He finished second in the NFL in accuracy behind Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes. Brees averaged 7.5 yards per pass, and turned in a touchdown-interception ratio of 33:17. He also finished with eight 300-yard games.

Like any great quarterback, Brees did have some games where he struggled. Brees finished the season with four of his sixteen games ending with multi-interception stats: Tampa Bay (3), San Francisco (2), Atlanta (2), at Tampa Bay (3). It’s a bit mind-boggling that so many of these performances came at home. Brees also had three games where he suffered more than four sacks (at Carolina, Baltimore, Atlanta).

Inside the Numbers – Drew Brees

2014 – 4,952 yards, 33 TD, 17 INT
2013 – 5,162 yards, 39 TD, 12 INT
2012 – 5,177 yards, 43 TD, 19 INT
2011 – 5,476 yards, 46 TD, 14 INT
2010 – 4,620 yards, 33 TD, 22 INT
2009 – 4,388 yards, 34 TD, 11 INT

The myth of a declining Drew Brees for the New Orleans Saints can be debunked by several things. For starters, the team made moves during the offseason to take a lot of pressure off of Brees. That’s a huge reason why Mark Ingram was locked up to a four-year contract, and exactly why a player like C.J. Spiller was brought into the picture. Furthermore, enter Max Unger. The center position is like gorilla glue, and Unger will be a huge presence to help keep Brees upright.

Will Drew Brees miss Jimmy Graham? There’s no doubt about it. However, what many fail to realize is that Brees had success prior to Graham, and he can easily replicate it again. Graham was a tremendous target over the years, and while he will be missed, the Saints will look for production elsewhere. Brees is at his best when he’s able to not hone in on one single presence, and with ‘fresh blood’ at the skill positions, it bodes well for Brees in 2015.

Brees drives the offense, and his successes or failures will dictate where the Saints go this year. When it’s all said and done, Drew Brees has the utmost trust of coach Sean Payton, the love and backing from his city and team, and arguably the missing pieces on defense to help negate him from having to go into ‘gunslinger’ mode in every game. With his additions on offense, there’s little to suggest that Brees won’t have another stellar year with the Saints, and it will help carry the team to the playoffs.

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