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After July 16, Brees still has flexibility

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With nine days to go until the window closes on the ability of the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees to do a long-term deal, it’s widely believed that, after July 16, Brees’ only option will be to accept the $16.371 million franchise tender for 2012.

The truth is that Brees would still have flexibility, and thus leverage.  He could insist, as players like Bears linebacker Lance Briggs and former Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth have done in the past, on triggers that would prevent the Saints from using the franchise tag again in 2013.  Or Brees could simply ask for more than $16.371 million for 2012.  Or both.

As to the first option, it arguably makes more sense for Brees to sit tight on what would be (thanks to arbitrator Stephen Burbank) a $23.57 million salary and cap number for 2013.  With the salary cap expected to be flat, it would be impractical for the Saints to devote nearly 20 percent of it to one player, even if that one player is Drew Brees.

And so the July 3 ruling from Burbank has backed the Saints into a corner.  With the Saints finalizing during the past week all but one of their rookie deals, it looks like the front office has cleared the way for G.M. Mickey Loomis to focus exclusively on working out a long-term contract for Drew Brees before Monday, July 16 at 4:00 p.m. ET.

The clock has been ticking for months.  In nine days, it strikes zero for the Saints.  If they want to ensure keeping Brees beyond 2012, the time has come to figure out how to close the gap that still exists between what the player wants and what the team wants to pay.

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8 Responses to “After July 16, Brees still has flexibility”
  1. bubblefive says: Jul 7, 2012 10:36 AM

    Hopefully Matt Forte, Ray Rice, and Cliff Avril are thinking along the same lines.

    In all 3 of those cases (in addition to Brees), their respective teams do not make the playoffs without these players ready to play from week 1.

    That, in a word, is leverage.

    Plus, the players need to fight back against being tagged multiple years in a row. Or, there is no-one else to blame but themselves for their situation. Not the weak NFLPA, not the teams, only the players themselves own the blame if they don’t hold out for no-tag clause.

  2. lgw91s says: Jul 7, 2012 10:36 AM

    I don’t believe the Saints (or any other team) would offer a contract that would surpass $23 million per year, when the cap is to remain flat. Why not just offer a guaranteed $18 mil for a one year contract, with a no franchise tag option for 2013. Everyone saves face and praises each other for ‘a difficult but fair negotiation and settlement’

  3. jimbo75025 says: Jul 7, 2012 10:51 AM

    So tired of Brees and the Saints. The guy is a good QB but is also a product of relaxed rules favoring the passing game combined with a pass happy offense. I shudder to think of the records a Marino in his prime would produce in todays game.

  4. thejuddstir says: Jul 7, 2012 10:56 AM

    I know Saints* fans want the organization to give Brees “the moon”, but they obviously aren’t thinking of the long-term salary cap ramifications that 20% of the cap space would create for the team. All teams have windows of opportunity and depending on how much $ they invest in that window will determine if down the road they will have the ability to keep “retooling” or if they will have to “rebuild” ala the Colts, Vikings, Jets etc. Brees is an elite QB, no doubt, but not worth 20% of cap space. It also speaks to Brees’s committment to the Saints* and their long-term success. Brees talks a good story (which is easy for him to do with his wild opinions on bountygate) but it keeps the fans from focusing on the fact that it’s all about him.

  5. onetobeamup says: Jul 7, 2012 10:58 AM

    How much is enough Drew? Send me your address so I can donate. God forbid you actually have to work for a living like most of us.

  6. miamisaint3255 says: Jul 7, 2012 11:54 AM

    jimbo75025 says:
    Jul 7, 2012 10:51 AM
    So tired of Brees and the Saints. The guy is a good QB but is also a product of relaxed rules favoring the passing game combined with a pass happy offense. I shudder to think of the records a Marino in his prime would produce in todays game.

    Are you aware that the saints had the number #5 rushing offense in the league last year, even with injuries to Ingram and Ivory?

  7. jg725 says: Jul 7, 2012 12:46 PM

    Brees really fooled a lot of people for a long time – but it has become very obvious in the past year that he is a very selfish, spoiled, and entitled brat who is a complete phony.

  8. kingcarlbanks says: Jul 7, 2012 7:16 PM

    You all need to stop hating on Drew. The man was a good little soldier his whole career and now, he wants his money, If you had leverage on your job to get the best salary you could get, you wouldn’t use it? Now if he stunk up the Superdome and got cut, would you guys hate on the Saints for doing so? Give Drew his money Loomis, you don’t want to have to crack out the paper bags again..

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