The New Orleans Saints may be near a happy ending to a most unhappy offseason. Matt Triplett reports on NOLA.com that Drew Brees’ deal with the New Orleans Saints should be done within a week.
Good. It was unthinkable that Brees would play anywhere else this season and unseemly that the two sides played hardball.
Football is a world of men and the business side of pro-football is as hard-knuckled as the on-field product. The NOLA.com story revealed that the Saints offered Brees a back-end loaded contract worth $18 million per year. Tom Condon, Brees’ agent, held out for a front-end loaded contract worth about $20 million per year, using Peyton Manning’s deal with the Denver Broncos. Condon happens to be the elder Manning’s agent.
The two sides are circling aroung a contract valued at $19.2 million with the term and structure still to be worked out.
The Saints applied the franchise tag to Brees after his 46 TD, 5,476 yard performance in 2011. Brees found that unacceptable after his experience playing as a franchised starter for the San Diego Chargers in 2005. He suffered a torn labrum in the last game of the season, then was offered an undervalued, incentive laden deal to remain with San Diego.
In fairness to the Chargers who had Philip Rivers in the wings, Brees seemed a health risk. The Miami Dolphins held the same conviction after team doctors questioned his recovery. The Saints held no such reservation and won the gamble the Chargers and Dolphins would not take.
The Saints held the upper hand while they believed the team could franchise Brees two more times after this year. Brees and and the NFL PA scored another touchdown when Arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled that, under the new CBA, players have a career limit of three franchise tags. With that, Brees and the Saints gripped each other in sensitive areas. Negotiations appear to have flowed quickly after that.