Drew Brees has one year remaining on his contract with the Saints, but with the quarterback’s performance on the decline and his cap hit huge in 2016, fans and analysts have begun to speculate that Brees’ departure from New Orleans could come ahead of schedule.
But in an interview with PFT Live on Tuesday, Brees, 36, was pretty firm about his desire to stay with the Saints under coach Sean Payton.
“Bottom line, I don’t see myself in any other helmet than a Saints helmet and I don’t see myself playing for any coach other than Sean Payton,” Brees said. “I know there’s all kind of speculation, especially when you’re not heading to the playoffs. Everybody immediately wants to jump to what are they going to do this offseason and how’s it going to look for next season. I’m confident that a plan was laid out last offseason for how we’re going to build this thing back to where we can make a run.”
The Saints are currently 6-9 and out of playoff contention, but Brees hasn’t been bad. Despite missing a game to injury earlier in the year, he’s third in the NFL in passing yards (4,547), fourth in completion percentage (67.7), and tied for sixth in touchdowns (31).
Still, Brees is showing signs of decline. Barring a huge performance in the season’s final game, he will finish the year with his lowest passing-yard total since 2010. He missed Week 3 with a shoulder injury and is currently suffering through plantar fasciitis. With a $30 million cap hit in 2016, Brees could be too expensive for a Saints team that needs to bolster its defense and will probably talk about some degree of rebuild.
Despite having two years left on his contract, Payton will reportedly be courted by other teams, including the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts, in the offseason.
Payton and Brees arrived in New Orleans together in 2006, then helped the city through Hurricane Katrina and led the Saints to their first ever Super Bowl victory in 2009. It would be tough to imagine either of them elsewhere, but it’s not like we’ve never seen players and coaches leave their cities where they’re heroes.