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Will Brees set the quarterback bar higher?

Tony Romo AP

Four years ago, Saints quarterback Drew Brees became the highest-paid player in football, with a six-year, $120 million deal. He held the title for roughly six months, before Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco beat the $20 million-per-year average with a deal that pays $20.1 million annually.

This week, Flacco set new records under either standard for assessing contracts, with $22.13 million in new money per year and a total average value from signing of $20.8 million. Now, with Brees four days away from having his cap number spike to $30 million for 2016, the question becomes whether Brees will end up with a better deal than Flacco.

Brees’ 2016 cap number comes from a $19.75 million base salary, a $250,000 workout bonus, and bonus prorations of $10 million. A huge signing bonus coupled with a small base salary could easily create more than $10 million in current cap space. The question becomes how hard will Brees push to get a deal that is worth more than $20.8 million at signing and/or that averages more than $22.13 million in real money?

Sure, he’s 37. But he’s still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and one of the best to ever play. His leverage comes from both forcing the Saints to carry a $30 million cap number for 2016 and from the reality that, because he has been franchise-tagged twice before in his career, it would cost the Saints a whopping $43.2 million to tag him in 2017.

By doing nothing, Brees gets $20 million this year and either a shot at the free-agent market or $43.2 million next year. Under that analysis, he should easily get more than $20.8 million per year under the terms of whatever deal he signs to replace the last year of his current contract.

Then there’s the reality that the quarterback market has barely increased in the past three years, as the salary cap has gone up by more than 25 percent. Someone already should be making $25 million per year. Most believe that someone will be Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. In actuality, Brees has the leverage to get there, if he wants to.

The only question is whether he wants to.

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46 Responses to “Will Brees set the quarterback bar higher?”
  1. floratiotime says: Mar 5, 2016 11:58 AM

    Of course. No one is more money hungry than team killer Drew.

  2. lanham4eve says: Mar 5, 2016 12:01 PM

    As a bills fan, as much as I hate tom Brady he signs team friendly deals. This allows them to get and keep talented players, I wish more top players were like that

  3. greatest dynasty ever says: Mar 5, 2016 12:08 PM

    Brees is setting himself up for life…

    Brady is setting himself up for another ring.

  4. sb44champs says: Mar 5, 2016 12:15 PM

    ….not every player has their income supplemented by the most popular Super Model in the world. She makes double what Brees makes for simply looking pretty. Brees is a bargain when you look at Flacco’s contract..

  5. eagleswin says: Mar 5, 2016 12:15 PM

    greatest dynasty ever says:
    Mar 5, 2016 12:08 PM

    Brady is setting himself up for another ring.

    ———————————-

    LOL. The saints continue to gut that team to afford an aging Brees.

    Maybe they should develop some QB talent behind him before Brees consumes even more salary and has to play all 11 positions on offense.

  6. hockeyflow30 says: Mar 5, 2016 12:17 PM

    This comes from a gigantic Pats fan – Brady gets helped out with his wife making $50m per year.

    I would think that as one of these top guys you’d be better off taking a few million less with guarantees from management that it will be spent to improve the team and make up that income with increased endorsement deals from being a winner.

  7. purplegreenandgold says: Mar 5, 2016 12:18 PM

    I love how trolls are always the first to comment…love them all😂

  8. r502 says: Mar 5, 2016 12:23 PM

    Nice front office work; having to pay a guy even more at 37 years old or tag him for $43 million when the team stinks to begin with.

  9. vikingf0rlife says: Mar 5, 2016 12:24 PM

    Bridgewater is worth that kind of money. His undersized baby hands and severe lack of arm strength will never get my vikes to the Superbowl. Our under achieving, lack of talent on offense will hurt us in the end. I hope we draft another QB this draft so we can contend, but if we keep Bridgewater we can only contend in the CFL.

  10. crawfish2011 says: Mar 5, 2016 12:25 PM

    Andrew Luck will be the next QB to set the bar.

  11. lucasblack12 says: Mar 5, 2016 12:25 PM

    Lol an eagles fan is talking about the saints paying Drew Brees? Your eagles paid a qb with a losing record and 0 playoff appearances 18 million a year… Hahaha

  12. Wisconsin's Favorite Son Jeffrey Be Dahmed says: Mar 5, 2016 12:28 PM

    I wish my Packers would renegotiate Aaron’s contract. He didn’t deserve it.

  13. 4thqtrsaint says: Mar 5, 2016 12:29 PM

    The problem has never been the money Brees gets. He earns every penny. The problem is how the rest of the cap money is invested. Graham, Galette, Byrd, Browner, Spiller, sprinkled with some bad draft picks & this is why the Saints were 7-9 2 years in a row. Brees does his job. The rest of the guys, not so much.

  14. therealraider says: Mar 5, 2016 12:30 PM

    Andrew Luck is overrated.

  15. linvillegorge says: Mar 5, 2016 12:30 PM

    As a Panthers fan, I really hope the Saints pour a ton of money into a rapidly declining QB.

  16. forthegoodofthegame says: Mar 5, 2016 12:40 PM

    No lamenting over lost weapons when the cap hit is the largest in the league.

  17. Della Street says: Mar 5, 2016 12:40 PM

    sb44champs says:
    Mar 5, 2016 12:15 PM
    ….not every player has their income supplemented by the most popular Super Model in the world. She makes double what Brees makes for simply looking pretty. Brees is a bargain when you look at Flacco’s contract..

    _________________

    BUT Brady took team friendly deals BEFORE he met Gisele.

  18. Wisconsin's Favorite Son Jeffrey Be Dahmed says: Mar 5, 2016 12:43 PM

    In Green Bay, we know all too well about over-paying declining QBs.

  19. 6thsense10 says: Mar 5, 2016 12:59 PM

    lanham4eve says:
    Mar 5, 2016 12:01 PM
    As a bills fan, as much as I hate tom Brady he signs team friendly deals. This allows them to get and keep talented players, I wish more top players were like that
    ——-
    1. The only reason team wise that player contracts is an issue is the owners insist on a hard salary cap. Baseball players who don’t mean nearly as much as a top QB like Brees are signing monster contracts that put NFL players to shame. Fully guaranteed too. Also baseball seems to have just as much parity as the NFL. Go back and look at the past 20 world series Champs and loses vs superb owl winners and losers.

    2. How much does Brady’so household bring in? Because last I checked his wife was bringing in something like $40 million per year. So I’m not sure it’s fair to compare others to his situation.

    3. When players are playing for well below market contracts nobody here sheds a tear for them. At all. When players get cut it’short a business and no one is talking about team this or that. When players are force to take a paycut it’seems just business to fans. But whenever a player has leverage and is willing to use it to the max…it’s oh be a team player, don’t be greedy, blah, blah, blah.
    Every NFL player should treat their situation like the business it is.

  20. greatest dynasty ever says: Mar 5, 2016 1:02 PM

    Panther fans should probably be the last people to talk, since their quarterback has no rings and pulls out like a senior on prom night.

  21. lingsun54 says: Mar 5, 2016 1:05 PM

    Brees could help his team a lot by playing for $10 million. Of course, it’s hard to feed your family on that…

  22. lingsun54 says: Mar 5, 2016 1:09 PM

    It’s really not fair for a single player to get that high a percentage of the salary cap. I’d rather see the NFL minimum salary raised from $450,000 a year to $1 million a year. That would benefit the most players since most players aren’t in the league for very long.

  23. mrwalterisgod says: Mar 5, 2016 1:11 PM

    Regardless, the writing is on the wall for the Saints. They’re gonna be REALLY bad soon. Jacksonville level bad.

    Even with a healthy Drew Brees, you have to wonder how much time he has left.

  24. mrlaloosh says: Mar 5, 2016 1:30 PM

    Eagles fans chirping? How’d that Demarco Murray huge contract work out? The city of brotherly losers…

  25. 99jb4ever says: Mar 5, 2016 1:34 PM

    lucasblack12
    Mar 5, 2016, 12:25 PM EST
    Lol an eagles fan is talking about the saints paying Drew Brees? Your eagles paid a qb with a losing record and 0 playoff appearances 18 million a year… Hahaha

    —————————

    Lucas,
    Bradford has a cap number of 12.5M for this year and is making 13M. He has a 4M guarantee for next year for injury only, allowing the Eagles to get out of the deal after one year for subpar play. His total guarantee is 22M only. That 36M number is only attainable with a lot of incentives, and if the Eagles are paying him that much then it means he and the team are doing well. I believe his cap hit is right around the 20th QB. Pretty fair deal. Maybe you should actually show some intelligence and read up on things before trolling like a moron.

  26. bondlake says: Mar 5, 2016 1:44 PM

    The median HOUSEHOLD income in the U.S. is just under $52,000/year.

    Do the math. At this rate, it takes the average houshold 19.23 years to make $1 million.

    So. now the idiots in Baltimore come along and pay Flacco, an average QB at best, $22.3 million/year. Again, do the math. At this rate it would take the average U.S. household just under 429 years to make what Flacco will make in one year.

    Is there any wonder that a huge disconnect will be forthcoming between the haves and have-nots?

  27. babyjunkie says: Mar 5, 2016 1:44 PM

    Only Tom Brady care$ aboot winning.

  28. zeke2517 says: Mar 5, 2016 2:02 PM

    “Brees is setting himself up for life…

    Brady is setting himself up for another ring.”

    “As a bills fan, as much as I hate tom Brady he signs team friendly deals.”

    Well, in fairness, Brady is married to an incredibly wealthy woman. Giselle probably makes more than he does. Drew Brees has some chick he met in college.

    So Tom can look like he gives a damn while Brees actually needs to cut a big deal so he can even approach the level of luxury that Brady enjoys.

    Bear in mind, though, that both of these men are well aware that they are nothing more than characters on a TV show. Like Jerry Seinfeld, they’re looking to get paid by the massive, super rich organizations for whom they work.

  29. whodat5150 says: Mar 5, 2016 2:33 PM

    All the folks that keep celebrating Tom Brady for restructuring his contracts to clear cap space for the Patriots, must have NEVER understood the gist of them. Whenever Brady restructured his contracts, he NEVER TOOK A PAY CUT! By converting some of his base salaries to signing bonuses, roster bonuses and what not, Brady helped clear cap space. But Brady NEVER received less money on ANY of those deals and you can Google them up for yourselves. In 2014, Peyton Manning took a pay cut BUT there were incentives that allowed him to get that money back; which he did by being in Super Bowl 50.

  30. doubleogator says: Mar 5, 2016 2:42 PM

    Re: Brady signing team friendly deals.

    It’s a little easier to sign team friendly deals when your wife makes 47 million per year…

  31. eoyguy says: Mar 5, 2016 3:03 PM

    If Flacco is “worth” 22M, and Cousins is “worth” 20M, Brees could easily get more than both of them on the open market. How many teams out there would kill to have them throwing to some decent talent? New York, Buffalo, J’ville, LA, San Fran, Miami, Cleveland, the list goes on. Basically any team that doesn’t have Brady or already have a bunch of $$$ wrapped up in a QB. Rapidly declining? I think they said that about Manning just before he dropped 5K+ yards and 55TD’s on the league. Brees could decline and still be better than 90% of the QB’s out there. Give him a little running game and better receivers and he might hold the yardage and TD’s for a season record.

  32. malgorthewarrior says: Mar 5, 2016 3:05 PM

    did you know the qb pay has barely increased, as salary cap has gone up 25 percent in last three years.

    I do, because PFT is beating the point into the ground in every Florio article.

    It’s like once he thinks he’s thought of some new take, it has to be repeated 1000 times in every article. that way if someone else mentions it, PFT can be like “see how we move the stories with our hot takes guise”

    love it. classy. tactful.

    mg

  33. mrfoozball says: Mar 5, 2016 3:25 PM

    Can someone explain this to Drew Brees?

  34. whodatnhollywood says: Mar 5, 2016 3:43 PM

    I appreciate the great things Drew Brees has done for the Saints. He was paid to do them, just like the rest of the Super Bowl team including Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas, Marques Colston, et al. But his financial selfishness has cost a lot of his teammates their spots on the roster. T

    Like him or not, Tom Brady is the Tim Duncan of the NFL. Both have sacrificed money to keep quality teammates around them. Therefore, every year they have a shot at winning the title. I have FAR MORE RESPECT for those dudes, than for those who think only about themselves, including Drew.

    I’m from New Orleans and the cost of living there ain’t like it is here in LA. So, if Brees doesn’t make another penny, he’s set FOR LIFE! In fact, even if he lived here in So Cal, he’s set!

    I HATE the way the QB gets such a large percent of the salary cap! It’s not like he’s the only person on the team. If the QB gets hurt, or have a terrible year, it’s doom for the team, and there’s no money to go get another quality player.

    It looks like this isn’t going to change. So, every team should get used to their QB eating up the salary cap at the expense of the whole team, especially the defense.

  35. rootpain says: Mar 5, 2016 3:54 PM

    I know you all know this but Brady has been doing team friendly deals since before Giselle.
    Besides, who out there has ever gone to their employer and said, hold on there with the cash dispensary bub, my wife just got a big raise, so I don’t need what you’re giving me. How about spreading it around to the others I work with. Yeah even those I know I will be competing with next year. Exactly, no body does that.
    Don’t know the details, but megastars like Brady and Giselle have pretty solid prenuptials in place. So not taking a raise because your wife is doing well today is no sure bet.
    Some say that Brady is just restructuring but that he hasn’t given up any money. Maybe so, but on a net salary basis, he takes less money out than a majority of other active, elite quarterbacks. And he is the top QB in the league and is still improving.
    And finally, the comment that Peyton Manning gave back $5 million is a joke. He didn’t give that up. He unearned it because of his poor play.
    Brady is the Goat at so many levels.

  36. patsfan4lifesbchamps says: Mar 5, 2016 4:08 PM

    Brees will need a #1 defense that puts bounties on opposing players to win another championship.

  37. whenwilliteverend says: Mar 5, 2016 4:56 PM

    First of all, I thought when Drew Brees demanded (and got) so much money I thought it would be bad for the team. But, if Jump ball Joe is worth $22M then this guy should easily be worth $30M or more. All Flaccid can do is throw the ball up and hope his guy gets open. Brees is so much better than Flacco they don’t even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath. Brees has carried that team and their horrendous defense whereas had Flacco been the QB on that team they wouldn’t have won any games. Flacco reminds me more of Neil O’Donnell. He’s more of a (very highly-paid) game manager. I can’t understand why the Ravens are so enamored with him. Put Brees on that Ravens team and they probably would have won four Super Bowls.

  38. captainwhodat says: Mar 5, 2016 5:44 PM

    yep, led the league in passing yardage, set the bar higher Saints…hint: take the # of offensive yards the Saints gained and divide by the number of pts scored…it will equal 16.44 (#22 rank), much higher than the league average of 15.46 yds needed to score a point…by all means pay him more, Aints…another Cap Hell and losing season (3 in a row) await you…

  39. concretejimmy52 says: Mar 5, 2016 5:48 PM

    I doubt it. Brees would get killed playing in the AFCN. Know what you’re talking about. I seem to remember the Ravens destroying the Saints the last two times. Who was the better QB then? Ravens played the AFCS two seasons ago. I’ve never seen more lopsided Ravens victories. And that was without a secondary. Brees could always play for the Colts in the AFCS. You know, another sorry division that helped noodle arm Manning pad his stats. Flacco tied Montana’s record for playoff TD’s and would have broke it if some 49er fan didn’t turn off the lights. Joe and the Ravens will be back in the playoffs this season. Brees and the Saints, not so much.

  40. concretejimmy52 says: Mar 5, 2016 5:51 PM

    Maybe the Saints should put a defense around him instead of using their top picks on WR’s for Brees to throw to. No wonder the Saints suck. Even Brees’ SB ring has an *. Joe gets it done with UDFA.

  41. concretejimmy52 says: Mar 5, 2016 5:55 PM

    I knew Jimmy Graham was over-rated.

  42. whenwilliteverend says: Mar 5, 2016 7:42 PM

    Joe and the Ravens will be back in the playoffs this season. Brees and the Saints, not so much.

    Keep drinking the Kool-Aid and smoking the funny stuff. You’re delusional if you think they are gonna make the playoffs. At least you can take solace in the fact that your bromance Flacco will be with the Ravens for much longer insuring you won’t make the playoffs any of his years.

  43. ahzroc says: Mar 5, 2016 7:49 PM

    @ Cement head jimmy
    I am always surprised at the ignorance and trolls on this site, and now we meet the king!
    Flacco had the lowest metrics last season. BAD!
    Despite missing the 1st game of his HOF career, New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees led the NFL in Passing yds in the 2015 season, the 6th time in the last 10 years and 4th of the last 5.
    Pro Football Focus rated him 4th for the season.
    Brees is currently 4th ALL TIME NFL passing yards, 458 yds behind Dan Marino at 3rd.
    All of this with NEVER HAVING AN ALL-PRO WR!
    During his time in New Orleans, Brees has never had an All Pro WR!
    It is the SAINTS not ravens who have made the most of the UDFA WRs !
    Hey Cement head Joe!
    learn more about Football!!

  44. mdd913 says: Mar 6, 2016 10:15 AM

    As a Panthers fan, I really hope the Saints pour a ton of money into a rapidly declining QB.

    ——————————————————————

    68.3%, 4,870 yards, 32 TD, 11 Int, 101.0 passer rating. Led the league in passing despite missing a game and playing all season with a bad rotator cuff and a torn plantar fascia.

    Yeah, that’s some decline.

  45. glynners says: Mar 7, 2016 11:47 AM

    Truly amazed by the amount of people that dont understand the difference between cap number and actual take home salary. Staggering.

  46. triggerdawg says: Mar 9, 2016 7:39 AM

    Only playoffs the Ravens will be playing in is for the right to play in the toilet bowl.

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