On the news side, was just told the Saints have placed the franchise tag on QB Drew Brees.— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 3, 2012
Brees set the single season passing record in 2010, throwing for 5,476 yards. He led the Saints to a 13-3 record. In his six years in New Orleans, Brees has taken the Saints to four playoff appearances, including winning Super Bowl XLIV, where he was the MVP.
What It Means
There wasn't much of a chance that Brees was going to leave the Saints to begin with. This move only cements the fact that he'll be back with the Saints.
Will Drew Brees and the Saints agree to a long term contract?
Unfortunately for New Orleans, this move would make it very hard for them to bring back some of their other free agents, as he'll make a lot of money and the Saints won't be able to structure it in a cap-friendly way.
Fortunately for the Saints, there is time to negotiate an actual long-term contract with Brees. That is a must, as if the franchise tag is kept on Brees, this will be a much different team next year.
According to the NFL Network's Jason La Canfora, the two sides are headed back to the table.
Ultimately, what the tag does is buy the sides til July 15 to get a long-term deal done, which is the goal.— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 3, 2012
The Saints need flexibility with this contract, and making someone like Brees the "Franchise Player" gives them absolutely none of that.
If they choose to not negotiate with Brees, he will still return to New Orleans in 2012, although the status of other key players like Marques Colston and Carl Nicks is still very much up in the air.