No other quarterback besides Drew Brees has made it past the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs in the entire 40-plus year history of the New Orleans Saints. He continues to produce outrageous passing numbers, he means more to his team than any other player on New Orleans’ roster, and he wins.
So why the Saints continue to anger him by not giving him a long-term contract is a question worth $20 million on its own. If Peyton Manning, who didn’t take a snap last year, is worth $19,200,00 in 2012 then why are the Saints balking at paying Brees $20-plus million per season?
Sean Payton and Jonathan Vilma are suspended for an entire year. Gregg Williams is gone, Joe Vitt must serve a six-game suspension before taking over as interim head coach for 2012, and three other players have been suspended for their role in the bounty program. Brees is the only true leader that the Saints have on their roster but he refuses to show up to camp until he receives a long-term deal. Why owner Tom Benson refuses to hand Brees a blank check and says, “Write down any number you want – just get out on that practice field and lead this team like you’ve done the past seven years,” is beyond me.
Some insist that Brees is being selfish because he won’t just play under his one-year tender. But if you nearly had your entire career ruined because of an injury to your throwing shoulder, would you play on a one-year deal? The Saints are lucky they even wound up with Brees in the first place. He was set to sign with the Dolphins before Miami’s doctors told the team to pass because they thought he would never throw again. He landed in New Orleans only to team up with Payton and turn the Saints into one of the most imposing offenses in the last five years.
It’s not like Brees’ production has dipped either. He set career highs in competitions, competition percentage, yards, touchdowns and yards per game last season. So while he may be getting up there in age (he’s 33), he shows zero signs of slowing down.
Unless they have a shutdown defense teams can’t win in the NFL without a quarterback. And the Saints don’t have a shutdown defense.
What they do have is a quarterback who posts Hall of Fame-type numbers but he’s extremely frustrated (his words – not mine) by the way his contract negotiations of gone with the team. Considering what he means to the Saints, the city of New Orleans and his teammates, it’s befuddling why Brees doesn’t have a contract yet. And while the Saints still have until July 16 to work out a long-term deal with their record-setting signal caller, why wait?
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