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Brees, Saints Continue Negotiations
Wednesday, March 23
ESPN's Ed Werder reported on Twitter that the "Saints continue talks with [Brees] on 4-year extension. With QB having 1 year left, he and [head coach Sean Payton] would both be under contract 5 years."
The Saints announced Wednesday morning that Payton had agreed to a new contract.
Brees Comments on Contract Talks
Monday, March 21
"It’s a negotiation," Brees told reporters. "There’s always back and forth. I’ve got a very strong relationship with the Saints."
As for a timeline for a deal, Brees said talks are "ongoing" and that he doesn't know if "it’s something that will be done next week or before the end of the year or next year or when."
"I want to be a Saint for the rest of my career," Brees added. "I think I’ve got a lot of good years left."
The quarterback also noted he "feels healthier this offseason than he did a year ago."
Condon Comments on Brees' Negotiations
Tuesday, March 8
"I'm guessing we'll probably have some conversations with the Saints in the next couple of weeks," Brees' agent Tom Condon said on The Rich Eisen Show, per Joel A. Erickson of the Advocate.
Loomis Wants Brees in New Orleans for "Foreseeable Future"
Wednesday, Feb. 17
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis appeared on Sirius XM NFL Radio Tuesday with Alex Marvez and Bill Polian and discussed Brees’ future with the team.
Marvez noted on Fox Sports that the quarterback’s five-year, $100 million contract he signed in 2012 is up after the 2016 campaign and provided some financial reasoning as to why the Saints would potentially want to extend the current deal:
An extension of Brees’ current deal would give the Saints salary-cap relief. Brees has a cap number of $30 million for the 2016 season, which will account for almost 20 percent of the team’s overall space. The cap number for each team, which is still being formulated by the NFL and its players union, is projected between $152 million and $155 million.
However, Loomis told Polian and Marvez “it’s not mandatory we do something with Drew,” before free agency begins this offseason on March 9, per Marvez. Marvez added more details to Loomis’ position:
Even though New Orleans is perilously close to the cap limit. Loomis said the bigger impetus for striking a deal is tethering Brees to the franchise beyond this season.
"We want Drew to be our quarterback this year, next year and the foreseeable future," Loomis said. "I know he feels like he’s got more years left in him. I would say we feel that way as well.
"We’ll get that worked out in a way that helps our team and obviously fits in with what he wants to do."
Saints Must Weigh Brees' Value to Franchise vs. Financial Flexibility
The salary cap is certainly something worthy of concern in New Orleans, but it is easy to see why the team would want Brees under center for at least the next few years. The nine-time Pro Bowler and two-time Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year led the Saints to the Super Bowl XLIV title over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts and didn’t slow down much in 2015.
Brees turned 37 in January, but he led the league in passing yards with 4,870 last season and remained the durable model of statistical consistency he has been throughout his New Orleans tenure:
|Drew Brees' Saints Career|
|Season||Games||Completion Percentage||Passing Yards||Passing Touchdowns||Interceptions||Passer Rating|
The Saints finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs, but Brees was far from the reason why.
The defense was dead last in the league in points allowed per game at 29.8 and 31st in yards allowed per game at 413.8. Even with the NFL’s second-best total offense, at 403.8 yards per game, the Saints couldn’t keep up with the 15-1 Carolina Panthers or even the 8-8 Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South with such a poor defense.
The Saints have the 12th pick in the upcoming draft and could certainly add some pieces to that defense. In fact, Rob Rang and Dane Brugler of CBS Sports both projected New Orleans to take an Alabama defensive tackle in the draft (Jarran Reed and A’Shawn Robinson, respectively).
Whether salary-cap relief ultimately impacts New Orleans’ decision with Brees remains to be seen, but it is difficult to envision this team making the postseason next year without a drastic improvement on the defensive side.