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Superdome Super Bowl raises stakes in Brees’ contract talks

Divisional Playoffs - New Orleans Saints v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

With a contract that will expire in just a few weeks and with no progress made during the 2011 season toward a new one and with a record-setting season in his pocket and with a late-game performance against the 49ers that should have been enough to deliver the first road playoff win in franchise history, quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints continue to be on a collision course for awkwardness and ugliness in 2012.

In a season-ending press conference held Tuesday, coach Sean Payton said what he’s been saying for months:  Brees will be back.

“I think if that question were asked to Mickey [Loomis] or Drew right now, I don’t think there would be any timetable [regarding a new contract],” Payton said in comments distributed by the team.  “Certainly the sooner the better, and yet I think this time away here initially after the season ended will be good for everyone to kind of remove yourself from the emotion of the season.  I think it will be something that would certainly be on our priority list.”

The Saints have the ability to prevent Brees from becoming a free agent, via the franchise tag.  The Saints can even use the “exclusive” version of the tag, which would prevent another team from extending an offer to Brees that, if not matched by the Saints, would secure the single-season passing yardage record-holder’s rights in exchange for two first-round picks.

The real question remains whether the two sides will work something out on their own before Brees misses offseason workouts, training camp, and/or the preseason.  Like all franchise-tagged players, Brees can stay away until only days before the start of the regular season and still earn the full amount of the franchise-player salary.

If it comes to that, how will Brees be ready to play as of Week One?

And so the Saints and Brees could be destined for a game of chicken, with the team believing there’s no way he’ll stay away from his teammates and undermine his own preparation for 2012 and Brees believing there’s no way the team will want him to miss out on preparation that will be vital to winning enough regular-season games in 2012 to force the road to the Superdome through, well, the Superdome.

That’s the overriding factor in all of this:  The Saints host the Super Bowl next year.  Thus, owner Tom Benson and company surely will want the Saints to play in that game.

To make that happen, the Saints need to play their playoff games in the Superdome, too.  To ensure home-field advantage in the postseason, Brees needs to be fully prepared for the start of the regular season.

To make that happen, Benson and the Saints need to pay Brees an amount reflecting his value to the organization.

At the same time, Brees needs to leave enough cash under the cap to help pump up the defense and replace guys like Marques Colston and Robert Meachem, who surely will be pilfered by teams hoping to weaken the Saints, arguably the best team in the league at the end of the regular season.

To make that happen, they need to make Brees happy.  As Payton says, the sooner the better.

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36 Responses to “Superdome Super Bowl raises stakes in Brees’ contract talks”
  1. 7to10for6allday says: Jan 18, 2012 7:26 AM

    Pay the man! Are you kidding me? You look at Brady Rodgers and the other high paid QBs and you pay accordingly. If the saints mess this up it would be a monumental blunder that would leave the team crippled for the foreseeable future.

  2. khuxford says: Jan 18, 2012 7:28 AM

    He must be a lock to return, because you don’t hear a single rumor of him signing with the Redskins or Jets…

  3. binarybulge says: Jan 18, 2012 7:32 AM

    Oh, great, an entire year of talk about the Saints being the first team to host their own Super Bowl. I’m sooooo looking forward to it.

  4. worldwidebleater says: Jan 18, 2012 7:52 AM

    The only thing that will limit Brees’ payday is his desire to leave enough money to pay the rest of the team. Because the Saints will pay whatever it takes to keep him there.

  5. explosionsauce says: Jan 18, 2012 8:01 AM

    I think we are about to find out just how good his supporting cast is. My guess is that Colston and Meachem are vital and not easily replaceable.

  6. manureman says: Jan 18, 2012 8:04 AM

    best team in the league? So how come they are at home this weekend. I always thought who was the best team was decided on the field.

  7. dubaradhandi says: Jan 18, 2012 8:04 AM

    Pats exactly had similar salary cap situation after their success in the last decade. They were able to manage it and very consistent year after year in the salary cap era. Let’s see what saints do in the balancing department.

  8. sj39 says: Jan 18, 2012 8:05 AM

    It was fun but the Saints run is over anyway.

  9. winstonhussein says: Jan 18, 2012 8:05 AM

    The city of New Orleans should match whatever the team pays him.

  10. Kent Johnson says: Jan 18, 2012 8:11 AM

    What Brees really wants is a nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head fever so you can rest medicine that isn’t going to test positive in a random NFL drug test.

  11. 1972wasalongtimeago says: Jan 18, 2012 8:13 AM

    If a team would trade 3 first round picks for Andrew Luck, wouldn’t they give two first round picks to New Orleans for a franchised Brees? Jeff Ireland? Hello?

  12. miketomlinssteelers10 says: Jan 18, 2012 8:16 AM

    Love to play them in the dome.

  13. cakemixa says: Jan 18, 2012 8:24 AM

    As much as you and the rest of the media love to write these long stories about how it’s going to get ugly, and how Brees might not be back… everyone knows he will be re-signed shortly. This isn’t a Peyton Manning/Indy scenario.

  14. gberg09 says: Jan 18, 2012 8:26 AM

    I wouldnt be talking about home field advantage and superbowls so early. Teams can fall apart FAST in one year.

  15. yelix says: Jan 18, 2012 8:27 AM

    It’s happening. Something is going to happen with Brees’ contract that makes next season a disaster for the Saints. The team from the city that hosts the Super Bowl always misses the playoffs.

    Colts this year, Cowboys last year. Something always happens.

  16. KIR says: Jan 18, 2012 8:30 AM

    Footballs pay scale is screwed up. You’ve got one mvp of a team making 20 mil and another mvp making 600k. Hello Ray Rice, Arian Foster and to a lesser extent Matt Forte and Fred Jackson. Oh, that’s right those guys are easily replaceable. The Raiders missed the playoffs because their MVP McFadden got hurt. That type of production is not easily replaced.

  17. mac3333 says: Jan 18, 2012 8:32 AM

    Saints are about to get raided.

    Brees, Colston, Nicks & Meachem are all up for FA.

    I see Brees & Colston staying.

    Meachem will go find a place where he can start regularly. Nicks is going to be the highest paid OG in the league.

    I don’t see NO having the cheddar to pay all 4.

  18. kisstherings says: Jan 18, 2012 8:33 AM

    “The Saints host the Super Bowl next year. Thus, owner Tom Benson and company surely will want the Saints to play in that game.”

    LOL really Mike? Thought long and hard on that one did you? News flash: Benson would want his team playing in the Super Bowl REGARDLESS of where it is being played. Every NFL owner does.

    It is remarkable that somebody that spends as much time around football as you do, devotes articles around these kinds of foolish angles (like the Fisher leverage angle debacle).

  19. vtopa says: Jan 18, 2012 8:38 AM

    This deal will get done. Mickey Loomis is a whiz with the salary cap. There will be no game of chicken. He will do a contract that makes Brees the highest paid player in the league (somewhere between $15-$18 million/year) but backloaded to allow them to keep Nicks, Colston, and other critical players. Defensive players that are big against the cap will be turned loose or renegotiate because there will be a new DC anyhow. The Saints are in good shape with the cap because Brees final year of his contract is dropped this year (so, that’s a $12 million savings; read Pat Yasinkas’ column….that puts them around $96 million next year). Colston and Nicks are unselfish guys. They will do backloaded contracts as well. If they get home field throughout next year, you can put MONEY on a home team Super Bowl.

    So, all you Jets fans can just keep it in your pants and be happy that Manning will be throwing passes to….Holmes?

  20. kacapaco says: Jan 18, 2012 8:41 AM

    Brees also shouldn’t hold the franchise a hostage under his ‘record breaking performance’. Remember, Brees is Brees cos of the whole team around him. NO can’t give him all and end up got crapy team due to salary cap.

  21. xxwhodatxx says: Jan 18, 2012 8:42 AM

    Anyone who thinks they won’t get a contract done well before the season is an idiot. It’s not even worth speculating on.

  22. rowdymon says: Jan 18, 2012 8:57 AM

    C’mon – does anyone think that Brees is leaving? Right now he is Mr. New Orleans and there is no one named Rivers on the QB roster. Non story.

  23. FinFan68 says: Jan 18, 2012 9:06 AM

    If the saints somehow manage to keep their offensive players, they will be the first team in a very long time to have a legit chance at playing a SB in their home stadium. I think the team owner/management should sit down with the the players in question collectively (at first) in order to outline their vision. Surely they won’t be able to hammer out the contracts that way but they may be able to tug at a few heart strings and possibly earn some additional loyalty from those players towards their ultimate professional goal…a team championship. Wishful thinking for fans, but it is at least worth a shot.

  24. skins716 says: Jan 18, 2012 9:21 AM

    come to the skins drew, dan knows what your worth

  25. 20bust11 says: Jan 18, 2012 9:30 AM

    Non story. Brees will retire in NO.
    If the Colts let Manning go, they will probably have to move. Again.
    The Jets, and Cowboys, both need a QB, but are unwilling to admit it. Sanchez, and Romo both disappoint for, yet, another season.
    You can’t spell elite without Eli. Peyton may have been right when he said that Eli has more talent than he does. If Eli gets another ring, watch out for the NY Giants next season.
    Steelers D is not what they used to be, no matter their ranking, so Pig Ben may have to beat on a few more women to get the attention he so desperately does not deserve.
    If Denver builds it’s team around Tebow, and gets him receivers, that don’t, constantly, drop the ball, or avoid trading their best receivers for 7th round draft picks, watch out for the Broncos, who might just have the best athlete, in the NFL, at the helm.
    I have spoken.

  26. chadmurdigan says: Jan 18, 2012 9:59 AM

    Benson needs to jack up the price of every car being sold at his dealerships and then pay Brees.

    I can’t believe that old umbrella-spinning, sideline-dancing fool didn’t get this done already.

    Maybe that young wife of his is spending too much at Tiffanys.

  27. gnarlesbarkley says: Jan 18, 2012 10:29 AM

    All the Saints need to do is call Jim Irsay and arrange a trade for Peyton.

  28. FinFan68 says: Jan 18, 2012 10:39 AM

    With the increased use of naming rights for stadiums it is only a matter of time before the owners start using that as a bargaining chip in order to circumvent the salary cap. What is to stop an owner from giving the company in question a break on the naming rights cost as long as they offer an indorsement contract to the team’s star as a form of supplemental income contingent on the player signing with the team that plays in the stadium? Benson could have done that with Mercedes/brees earlier this year. Do the CBA or anti-trust laws prevent this kind of “creative compensation”?

  29. realitypolice says: Jan 18, 2012 10:47 AM

    In the cold hard world of business in the NFL, Brees has put himself in a bad position by putting himself out there as the ultimate New Orleans resident with his involvement in the community and how he identifies himself with the city.

    The Saints know how hard it would be for him to leave and they will take full advantage of it. Sure, he’ll get paid, but they will hold out for a hometown discount as long as they can.

    Shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

    BTW- the Super Bowl angle is stupid. Everyone knows the home team never makes it to the Super Bowl.

  30. goddamnthatsfunny says: Jan 18, 2012 11:04 AM

    They need to pay Brees. Unlike running backs a QB typically once proven (I believe 5476 qualifies him) continue to play at a high level for the rest of their careers. He is 33 years old I would say a 4-5 year contract should keep him as a Saint the rest of his career. They better pay him!

  31. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jan 18, 2012 11:21 AM

    Oh, so the Saints will want to be in the Super Bowl because they’re hosting it. I guess they wouldn’t care if it were played somewhere else.

  32. mesta1 says: Jan 18, 2012 11:31 AM

    Brees walks away. Saints trade for Peyton Manning or sign him if he gets cut.

  33. donttazemebro says: Jan 18, 2012 11:38 AM

    The Raiders hire Carmichael and sign Brees

  34. skippynj says: Jan 18, 2012 12:06 PM

    Saints will re-sign him, no doubt. And Saints will surely lose some big names to free agency, but Loomis and Payton have built this team, offensively, with 6th and 7th rd. draft picks and they just need to keep at it. With a new D coordinator, they need to hit a few homeruns with their D picks, as they haven’t been as consistent on that side of the team in the draft. At any rate, I appreciate what GW did, but was never in love with his hit or miss D. Hoping they bring in someone who can teach M. Jenkins and the rest of the D to wrap up when they tackle for Christ’s sake.

  35. hendawg21 says: Jan 18, 2012 12:58 PM

    I think it’s irrelevant if they do or don’t…look at the cities/sites which have hosted the Super Bowls how have their teams fared??? None have made it in some cases even to the playoffs nor have they played and won the Super Bowl in their own venue…

  36. malgorthewarrior says: Jan 18, 2012 2:18 PM

    the notion that NO hosting the super bowl is the overriding factor is an egregious stretch of the imagination. pretty sure they would want brees even if the super dome was not hosting the super bowl next year.

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