The clock is ticking loudly, and it’s likely that a deal will get done before it strikes zero.
The window for the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees signing a long-term deal closes as of 4:00 p.m. ET on Monday, July 16. Thereafter, the Saints and Brees can’t do anything more than a one-year deal until after the final game of the 2012 regular season. As a result, Mike Triplette of the New Orleans Times-Picayune accurately explains that “[i]t will be the biggest upset of the NFL season” if a deal doesn’t get done.
Triplette likewise accurately says that “[o]nly an absurd amount of stubbornness could get in the way now.”
That said, it’s safe to say that an absurd amount of stubbornness already has unfolded. Otherwise, the Saints and the most important player in franchise history never would have gotten to this point.
Still, the absurd stubbornness meter would need to be renumbered if the Saints and Brees can’t work this one out. The gap between player and team was, as of last Tuesday, smaller than believed. The only thing that could keep the two circles of the Venn diagram from planting a peck on their respective cheeks would be a spike in Brees’ demands, fueled by last week’s ruling that he’d be entitled to $23.57 million under the franchise tag in 2013.
The Saints could never devote that much cap space (nearly 20 percent) to one player, and no one player could reasonably demand for himself nearly one-fifth of the entire annual pie.
Of course, this means that the Saints likely wouldn’t use the tag on Brees in 2013, and that he’d hit the open market next March. A year after creating a major stir by taking an injured franchise quarterback to free agency, agent Tom Condon may be tempted to play this one out. Even if Brees ultimately stays with the Saints, he could make a lot more money over the long haul by getting through the 2012 season unscathed, during which time he’d make more than $1 million per game.
The odds continue to point to a deal getting done within the next week. Of course, the odds as of a year ago would have pointed to a deal getting done long before this week.