While the New Orleans Saints continue to push forward in 2016, the focus looks to stay on the now over the future.
On the surface, Drew Brees and company aren’t sweating things. It’s business as usual. There hasn’t been any type of discussion for a long-term deal in several months, according to Brees. Despite the lack of negotiations between the Saints and agent Tom Condon, the optimism remains.
"“I’d love a long-term deal to get done, something that would lock me up for the rest of my career,” Brees said at the Saints’ annual charity softball game on Wednesday night. “I plan on playing for a few more years, and obviously, I expect them to be here. I’m not stressing about it at all, honestly. I haven’t given it a whole lot of thought since we were talking about it, maybe a month and a half or two (ago).”"
However, the reality is that the hourglass is slowly running out for the Saints to lock up Drew Brees.
“I don’t like to talk about contract during the season,” Brees added during Tim Lelito’s charity softball game in late May. It seems to be a consistent theme, and little has changed in almost a month.
During a commercial shoot for Campbell’s soup on Tuesday, you get a sense that Brees has become a programmed robot with his response when asked about the contract situation.
"“I feel like I’ve got quite a few good years left,” Brees said. “I got one year left on the contract, but whether you have a one-year contract or a five-year contract, you’ve still got to prove it every year … even if you’re locked into a long-term deal, they can get rid of you at any time, so that’s my mindset.”"
Brees reiterated that once the season starts, all the focus becomes on football and the task at hand – getting his team where it needs to be.
It’s a very scary though for Saints fans to begin to contemplate what life would be like without Brees, who is set to turn 38 in January.
There’s absolutely a slim to none chance that the Saints would flirt with using an $42 million franchise tag on Drew Brees in 2017. From a business standpoint, that just doesn’t make sense. Looking ahead, the Saints have an estimated $127 million committed to the 2017 salary cap. While that can change and the salary cap could likely increase year over year, there’s no reason to shift nearly 25 percent of your money into an aging quarterback.
Now, there’s no knock on Drew Brees and his ability to play. He’s proven that he can still be effective, lethal, and continues to be a surgeon on the field. It’s almost as if analysts expect and bank on Brees declining.
The reality? Brees finished Top 10 or better in a variety of categories last season. Brees led the league with 4,870 passing yards. He was also 2nd in the NFL with 428 completions, 2nd in accuracy (68.3 percent), 6th in yards per attempt (7.77), 7th in touchdown passes (32), and 6th in passer rating (101.0). That’s considerably strong for player that missed a whole game and played through a painful foot injury.
Right now, we’re 79 days away from the season opener against the Oakland Raiders. You can look at as there’s 79 days left to get a Drew Brees deal done, or there’s 79 days until the Drew Brees deal needs to get done. Playing a game of Russian roulette with Brees potentially hitting the open market could spell disaster for all parties involved.