Despite a rash of reports that the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees are close to working out a long-term deal, the reality is that they’re not, yet. They could end up being a little closer in a few weeks, after Stephen Burbank hears arguments regarding the question of whether Brees would be entitled to a 44-percent raise under the franchise tag in 2013, or whether the bump would be only 20 percent.
A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Burbank will conduct a hearing during the final week of June. (A specific date has not yet been chosen.) At the hearing, questions posed and other comments made by Burbank could give the two parties some insight into Burbank’s inclinations. If one side senses that a defeat is coming, an incentive arises to do the deal before Burbank makes the ruling official.
From Burbank’s perspective, the best approach would be to give both the team and the player reason to fret, which in turn would give them a mutual reason to control the risk and do a better deal than what would be available if the $3.9 million in 2013 pay swings away from the side that loses.
Given that Burbank recently has shown a willingness to issue decisions quickly, the parties may not have much time after the hearing to control the outcome. And if they decide to work it out without a ruling, Burbank won’t have to rule on the issue at all.