What’s with the stalling? Saints need to pay Drew Brees.

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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Drew Brees extremely frustrated by lack of contract negotiations with Saints

It’s May 16 and Drew Brees has yet to receive a long-term contract from the New Orleans Saints. As you would imagine, this has left the veteran quarterback extremely frustrated about his situation.

From ProFootballTalk.com:

“This is a big time for our team, especially when you look at what’s happened in this offseason, missing our head coach, Sean Payton,” Brees said. “There should be a sense of urgency and yet it seems like there’s not.”

“We’ve reached out on a number of occasions and at times I’ve been frustrated by the lack of response,” Brees said.

“It’s been extremely frustrating for me,” Brees said. “The negotiation shouldn’t have been this difficult.”

It’s understandable that Brees is frustrated but when you’re talking about a contract of this magnitude, it takes time for the situation to get settled. It’s not like Mickey Loomis woke up one day and forgot what Brees means to this team. And in the wake of the bounty scandal, the Saints are well aware that at some point they’re going to need to provide their fan base with positive news.

It would make everyone in New Orleans feel better if Brees were signed to a long-term contract but it’s only May. There’s a good four months before the regular season starts and a month and a half before players report to training camp. It’s a safe bet that Brees will be donning a Fleur-de-lis on each side of his head next season.

The only thing that would make this story remotely interesting is if the Saints came out and stated that they want Brees to play on his one year tender. If that happens, then the crap will hit the preverbal fan because Brees is unlikely to play on a one-year deal. Not after he’s set the league on fire the past three seasons.

Brees would be “stunned” if he doesn’t come to terms with Saints

New Orleans Saints Drew Brees (9) rolls out to pass against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC divisional playoffs at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on January 14, 2012. The 49ers defeated the Saints 36-32. UPI/Terry Schmitt

Quarterback Drew Brees seems optimistic that he’ll receive a contract offer soon from the New Orleans Saints. In fact, Brees even used the words “beyond stunned” if he didn’t re-up with the team between now and when free agency starts in March.

“Now here we are at the end of the season and it’s time to pick up discussions again, obviously once we all get a chance to step away and decompress and let this season kind of settle,” Brees said in a conference call with the New Orleans media on Friday. “But I’ve had conversations with (Saints General Manager) Mickey Loomis and my agent and at some point very soon we’re going continue to talk and hopefully we will get a deal done very soon.

“Really the sooner the better. I would even say that between now and free agency (in March) I’d really like to have something done. Obviously there’s a lot that goes into it. It’s not as easy as maybe some people think it is. I just think there’s a lot of factors, variables, things to consider. The fact is we’re all very confident that a deal will get done sooner than later.”

It has been projected that Brees will receive somewhere around $18 million a year and there’s a chance he could become the richest player in league history. But the Saints also have to make decisions on top free agents Carl Nicks and Marques Colston, which could impact the process moving forward.

That said, at this point it seems highly unlikely that Brees will be in another uniform next season. He’s been the NFL’s most prolific passer over the past half-decade and is just two seasons removed from winning a Super Bowl with New Orleans. He isn’t going anywhere.

Brees completes true underdog story

It takes a special person to turn rejection into greatness.

Some forget that Doug Flutie replaced Drew Brees during the 2003 regular season because the former second round pick couldn’t get the job done. That prompted the Chargers to acquire Philip Rivers in the 2004 draft and had he not held out that year, San Diego may have never taken another look at Brees.

Brees played well in 2004 and 2005, which is why he was able to stick around in San Diego as long as he did. But the Bolts faced a major decision at the end of the 2005 season about what to do with Brees and Rivers. Do they commit to Brees and trade Rivers? Do they let Brees walk in free agency and go with an unproven Rivers?

That decision was essentially made for them when Brees suffered a shoulder injury in the last game of the ’05 season. He underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder and when he went back to the Chargers looking for a new deal, they offered him a five-year, $50 million contract that paid only $2 million in base salary the first year and the rest was heavily saturated in performance incentives.

The Chargers essentially offered him a deal they knew he would reject, which he did before hitting the open market. The team he wanted to play for, the Dolphins, was interested but they used his shoulder injury as an excuse to pass on him and sign Daunte Culpepper instead. The only team that showed any true trust in him was the Saints, whom he eventually signed with in March of 2006.

Fast-forward four years to Sunday night in Miami. After shaking off a jittery first quarter, Brees went on to complete 32-of-39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns in the Saints’ 31-17 win over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. He earned the MVP trophy by outplaying Peyton Manning, which is no easy feat. Brees was absolutely brilliant, as the Saints relied on him and the passing game the entire night. They trusted him to win them their first ever Super Bowl, just as they trusted him in ’06 when they were the only team that was truly interested.

But despite the fact that he’s now a Super Bowl and MVP winner, what makes Brees special is not his on-field heroics. He’s special because at no time did he ever complain about his situation or seek revenge on the Chargers and Dolphins for taking a pass. Instead, he took everything in stride, embraced the city of New Orleans and turned a bunch of negatives into one huge positive. Not everyone can do that and that is what makes Brees’ story so impressive.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Brees in line for a contract extension

According to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, the Saints are planning to reward quarterback Drew Brees with a contract extension in the offseason.

The Saints intend to redo Brees’ deal later this year to bring his salary more in line with the game’s top quarterbacks. This season Brees was the 17th-highest paid quarterback in the league, yet he finished second in the league in MVP voting and led New Orleans to the first Super Bowl in franchise history.

New Orleans considered extending Brees’ contract last offseason, but opted to wait another year. Now that it has, the price only has risen with Brees performing the way he has. Should the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV, Brees practically would be able to name his price.

Good for the Saints and for Brees, who is the 17th-highest paid quarterback in the league, which means he’s well underpaid for NFL standards. It’s nice to see a team be aggressive with a player that deserves a raise.

Tom Condon, who represents both Brees and Peyton Manning, is going to have himself one hell of an offseason. As the article notes, he’ll single-handily re-establish the salaries for top quarterbacks in the league.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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