The bounty scandal, and accusations that owner Mickey Loomis setup the ability for criminal eavesdropping (since vehemently denied) have somewhat stained the name of one of football's most inspirational teams.
The Saints captivated us with their Super Bowl run in 2010. It united and uplifted a Hurricane Katrina-torn community. They had folks from the Bayou to the Bay saying "Who dat."
The last four months, however, haven't been so inspirational. The latest black-eye is strictly business, as the Saints won't budge in their talks with their franchise QB. Sam Gannon of KSLA reports:
Both Brees and the Saints have proposed five-year contracts worth about $100 million. The Saints are offering an average pay of $19.25 million while Brees is seeking closer to $20.5 million a year. But while those aspects of the proposals are similar, there is a larger difference in size and structure of guaranteed bonuses.
Fans will likely dismiss the numbers aspect of this dispute. They are more apt to see this as the Saints holding out on their beloved QB. We all know Brees has been amazing on the field.
He's never thrown for less than 4,388 yards in his time in New Orleans, and he has tossed 201 TD passes in six years. He lead the team to its only Super Bowl title, and he's coming off a remarkable season.
In addition to what he's done in the past, Brees figures to be heavily leaned on much more than normal in the upcoming season. Without suspended head coach Sean Payton, Brees' intimate knowledge and experience with the offense is golden.
Brees does a huge amount of charity work, including his own The Brees Foundation to improve the quality of life for cancer patients.
The New Orleans Saints website even uses this line in his player bio: "Brees has also received numerous accolades and awards for taking a leadership role off the field in the New Orleans community."
When you look at all of those factors, it really makes the Saints look like the bad guys in this situation.
At this point, can the organization afford any more bad press?
They have to ask themselves this question: Are the pennies we're trying to save in bonuses and annual salary worth what we could lose in the big picture?
Are the Saints' fans so blindly loyal that they will ride with a team through all the bad press, and arguable unfair treatment of its lovable star?
Obviously, it's a gamble they are willing to take.
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