Saints quarterback Drew Brees signed a contract in 2006. This year is the final year of the deal.
He wants a new contract. We reported a couple of weeks ago that a “huge gap” exists between the two sides.
Brees recently said that he won’t allow the situation to become a distraction. And that goes without saying. Brees is the consummate professional. He’ll focus on his football business during football business, and he’ll focus on his contract after football season, if a contract isn’t done before then.
“I’m trying to compartmentalize it the best that I can,” Brees said. “That’s why I hired my agent. They all have a job to do. I’m hoping it will be done sooner rather than later, but for me really it’s about focusing on winning games and trying for it to not be a distraction.”
The ongoing absence of a new deal keeps the risk of injury on Brees, a dynamic that takes on greater importance given Peyton Manning’s current situation. But if Brees gets through 2011 unscathed, his leverage will skyrocket. For now, his salary is south of $10 million. If the Saints are forced to use the franchise tag, Brees will be negotiating from a one-year guarantee of more than $17 million.
And even though Brees won’t be able to shop himself to a new team (if the Saints use the exclusive version of the tag), he’ll have the ability to stay away from offseason workouts, training camp, and the preseason, if he chooses. Who knows? If Brees has a big year in 2011, he could possibly surpass the $18 million annual average given by the Pats to Tom Brady and the Colts to Manning.