Indianapolis isn’t the only team with major contract issues involving a superstar quarterback.
In New Orleans, contract negotiations with franchise saving quarterback Drew Brees are ongoing, and with the recent news that the two sides aren’t close (NFL.com) in the yearly figures for the first three years, coupled with already chippy verbiage (SI.com blog) coming from the Saints general manager its looking like a potentially ugly situation.
The Saints, who are wanting an annual salary in the range of $18 million per year for Brees, are $5 million off from what the Brees camp are said to be seeking. Both sides are basing their numbers off different parameters that could make matters more complicated.
The assumption is that Brees, who has led the Saints to their most successful run in franchise history, is looking for a deal similar to the one Manning received before the start of this past season. At $23 million per year annually, his argument seems to be that of similar accomplishments to this point in his career. He has led the Saints to three division titles, a conference championship, and a Super Bowl victory in which he was named MVP.
Saints, while trying to make Brees one of the better compensated quarterbacks in league history, are also trying to operate in such a way that would allow them to focus on signing other free agents that would allow them to be successful as a team. Most notably Brees’ favorite target Marques Colston, who himself will be looking to cash in on a career that has seen him go over 1,000 yards receiving in five of his first six seasons (note: the one he didn’t he missed time due to a broken hand and still managed 760 yards in 12 games).
The biggest concern here is the lapse in time; you don’t want your franchise quarterback to feel slighted by a franchise tag. You also don’t want to hinder the teams success by limiting your resources in one player, even if he is Drew Brees. Brees certainly is the key in the Saints run since he came over from the Chargers in 2006, and the argument can be made that the other players are made better by Brees the same way Tom Brady and Peyton Manning make those around them better. You do have to take caution because, as the Colts are finding out, injuries happen, and if that were the case you have to look at where you will be on the other side.
The Saints should do their best to avoid an uncomfortable situation with a player that has meant so much not just for the organization but the city of New Orleans as well. The all-time single season record holder for yards passed may have to make some concessions in order to get the deal done, the only question is whether he is willing to do so or not.