Roger Goodell sent a huge message to the New Orleans Saints and the NFL as a whole today, giving a year-long suspension to head coach Sean Payton and a half-year-long suspension to general manager Mickey Loomis for their involvement in "Bountygate." With these punishments, the Saints will lose two of their most important leaders for most of the year.
Without their head coach, the Saints lose the offensive genius that has helped carry them to stratospheric heights. Sure, Drew Brees is a top-three quarterback in the league. However he definitely needs Payton to reach his full potential. Don't look for the Saints to be nearly as effective as they have been in previous years.
With contract talks stagnant and the Saints taking a step back this year, will Brees leave New Orleans for a different setting?
It is an interesting question, considering that there are several teams that could use his services. Brees is 33 years old and will be 34 after this season. He might end up surpassing Peyton Manning in suitors because he would be one year younger, while having no injury concerns of late.
Brees is also the kind of leader that will help carry a franchise to new heights as he has done at New Orleans. Three teams come to mind when it comes to Brees: the San Francisco 49ers, the Houston Texans and the New York Jets.
Now, if one of these teams makes the Super Bowl or takes home the Lombardi Trophy, they would be out of the running for Brees. As of now, all three teams seem to be a quarterback away from winning a championship.
Brees on the 49ers or Texans produces a top-flight contender and likely a team that will contend for not one, but several Super Bowls.
Brees on the Jets is more of a wild card, considering New York has an aging defense and seem to have a lot of trust in Mark Sanchez. However, if New York misses the playoffs again, Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum might pull the trigger.
These three are just the tip of the iceberg, as teams like Tennessee, Dallas, Baltimore and others will call. Each team has a solid quarterback at the helm, but have fallen short of Super Bowl expectations. Brees could put them over the top.
All in all, Loomis needs to re-sign Drew Brees as quickly as possible. Otherwise, he opens him up to the possibility of finding a better team for 2013 and beyond.
Trust me, a bounty of teams will call for Brees.