Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma bumped Saints quarterback Drew Brees out of the spotlight on Thursday by filing suit against Commissioner Roger Goodell. But Brees deserves a bit more attention for what was, in hindsight, a brilliant decision to appeal to the fan base by making it clear that he’s not under contract because the team won’t engage him in negotiations.
At first, I viewed Brees’ remarks as a sign of weakness, an expression of a too-strong desire to get a deal done so that he can join his teammates for offseason workouts. And so by simply standing back and keeping their arms folded, the Saints would eventually crack Brees’ will. Potentially.
With Saints’ fans adopting a full-blown “us against them” bunker mentality, they soon may regard Brees as one of “them” if he fails to get into the bunker. But now that Brees has may it clear that he’s ready to climb into the bunker and that the team is keeping the door shut, the fans may be more likely to blame the team than Brees for the failure to get this worked out before the lauch of Organized Team Activities next week.
For more (or maybe just more of the same), here’s some stuff I said about it on Thursday’s PFT Live.