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Sean Payton has no problem with Drew Brees using his leverage


Four years ago, Saints quarterback Drew Brees had plenty of leverage in his contract talks with the team. He parlayed his bargaining power into a five-year, $100 million deal.

Now, Brees has even more leverage.

In addition to a crippling $30 million cap number for 2016, Brees would have an astronomical franchise tender for 2017, thanks to the arbitration case that he won in 2012 that qualifies him for a 44-percent raise on his cap number, via the third lifetime application of the tag. At $30 million for 2016, it’s a cash and cap number of $43.2 million for next year.

With Brees already owed $20 million for 2016, he can plausibly demand $63.2 million over the first two years of a long-term deal. Which would blow the lid off the current quarterback market.

Whether he seeks that much, Brees clearly has the leverage to push for record highs of $20.8 million per year from signing and $22.13 million in so-called “new money,” both of which marks Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco set earlier this month. Earlier this week, I asked Saints coach Sean Payton whether he’s fine with a player saying, “I’ve got leverage and I’m going to use it to the full degree.”

“I think it is, and I think one of the things as a coach, you appreciate that this is a circle that oftentimes or don’t get involved in,” Payton said during a visit to PFT Live. “Yet the good news is that he is under contract for next year. So I’m quite certain that Mickey [Loomis] and Tom [Condon] will explore all the options, cover all their bases and periodically I’ll get a call from Mickey and kind of just understand that that’s something he’s working hard on and we do know this, he’s under contract for next year and we’re excited about moving him forward especially as our quarterback.”

The other side of the coin, of course, is the Tom Brady approach, where the quarterback deliberately leaves money on the table to allow for cap room to build a viable team.

“Those are unique questions and challenges for only a few people that come up once in a while and I don’t think there’s a perfect answer for that,” Payton said. “I know this, Drew is a team guy, there’s no question our players see him as one of our huge leaders and I think that each case is different.”

The unique circumstance here is that Brees has extreme leverage but he’s also 37. The real question for the Saints is whether they’d be willing to use the tag at $43.2 million in 2017 or take their chances with Brees hitting the open market at age 38 for the first time since he left the Chargers and joined the Saints in 2006.

However it all plays out, Payton said he’s optimistic that a new contract will be finalized fairly soon. Whenever it happens, it will be a number that will seem surprising on the surface — unless Brees decides to go the route of Tom Brady and take dramatically less than he could get.

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25 Responses to “Sean Payton has no problem with Drew Brees using his leverage”
  1. metalhead65 says: Mar 25, 2016 10:54 PM

    just a shame contracts are not guaranteed isn’t it? I mean poor brees will have to play for only 30 million this year if he does not agree to a new deal. how awful for him if he is released next season.

  2. campcouch says: Mar 25, 2016 10:56 PM

    Or…the Saints can just let him go. The post-Katrina reality is that the hoped for dynasty has withered. Paying one guy so much of the cap space on a mediocre team will keep you mediocre.

  3. nolanbctalk says: Mar 25, 2016 11:38 PM

    Brees doesn’t have all the leverage. He’s 37 and will be playing out the final year of his current contract on a surgically repaired shoulder. I don’t think he’ll want to go into the 2016 season without some financial security into the future, like he did the last year with the Chargers. So you see, he doesn’t have ALL the leverage.

  4. eljefedelmundo says: Mar 26, 2016 12:26 AM

    Can he be franchised a third time?

    I’m fairly certain he’s been done twice already- once by the Chargers, once by the Saints.

    It would be sweet if Brees did a Brady (contract not balls)

  5. RogerGoodell✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ says: Mar 26, 2016 1:45 AM

    Brees will have a Cap hit of $60mil by the time he retires.

  6. edwinmoses says: Mar 26, 2016 2:49 AM

    No kidding? Sean Payton can care less if the president was shot.

  7. amaf21 says: Mar 26, 2016 3:04 AM

    Worst front office ever.

  8. uglydingo says: Mar 26, 2016 4:11 AM

    Comparison with Tom Brady is stark. Brees is a pirate seeking to grab as much as he can and Brady is unselfish seeking to help the team afford other players.
    Mickey Loomis has to learn to say no to the pirate. It’s not as if any other team could afford his demands.

  9. vikingforlife says: Mar 26, 2016 6:15 AM

    I think Payton will always support Brees, because he knows how much Brees means to the Saints and to him for that matter. He also knows or expects that when the time comes, Drew will do the right thing and negotiate what is right for the team. Drew is a stand-up guy, every young QB in the league should look at him as THE role model when deciding what they want their careers to look like.

  10. whodatintx says: Mar 26, 2016 8:07 AM

    Drew, you know the right thing to do and it’s NOT going for more money than Flacco! The Saints took a chance on you in 2006 and has since paid you 160 million in contracts. Now it’s your opportunity to take a chance on the Saints, take less money and give them a fighting chance to put a championship caliber team around you.

  11. dynastyposeiden says: Mar 26, 2016 8:19 AM

    seeing his windfall sweepstakes win this week he really cannot complain about someone else getting top of the market remuneration.

  12. dadindebt6 says: Mar 26, 2016 8:27 AM

    Pay him what you owe him. Make a reasonable offer and if he plays hardball let him walk!

    How is that for leverage?

  13. ikeclanton says: Mar 26, 2016 9:25 AM

    32-32 over the last 4 years, missing the playoffs in 3 out of 4 of those losing seasons (7-9 each time). Are we missing something here?

    Let him walk in 2017 if he won’t take a pay cut for the betterment of the team.

  14. jag1959 says: Mar 26, 2016 9:26 AM

    There will no doubt be Brees greed comments on top of team killer comments to follow but a little simple math shows that his current deal averaged out at $17.5M over the first 4 years and only the $23.8M from ’15 and the coming $30M are tough cap hits, the first 3 years were pretty reasonable. That he got to the last 2 years of that deal without an extension is not his fault. The article uses the Brady example but his contracts routinely get ripped up after 2 years and there’s another big signing bonus. Brady has NEVER played the last year of a contract. Sure he could have made more but make no mistake, he has done quite well and it has nothing to do with what his wife brings in. Fun fact, ‘overpaid’ Brees trails Brady by $12M in career earnings yet Brady trails Eli by $25M. I am a Giants fan but I have to say the fact that he has that much more in career earnings than Brady and Brees is obscene.

  15. glastron1 says: Mar 26, 2016 9:58 AM

    Brees is going to demand an explanation if he doesn’t get what he wants.

  16. 6thsense10 says: Mar 26, 2016 10:16 AM

    whodatintx says:
    Mar 26, 2016 8:07 AM
    Drew, you know the right thing to do and it’s NOT going for more money than Flacco! The Saints took a chance on you in 2006 and has since paid you 160 million in contracts. Now it’s your opportunity to take a chance on the Saints, take less money and give them a fighting chance to put a championship caliber team around you.
    The Saints took a chance on Brees and he rewarded them with a Superbowl. If Brees didn’t pan out the Saints would have done like every NFL team does and cut him or forced him to take a paycut so please stop with the false narratives. Brees doesn’t owe the Saints a thing. It’s rich that you think Brees owes the team anything. Didn’t they just release a loyal Saint player in Marques Colston? If or when Brees ceases to be of value to the team they will treat him the same way and Brees will be wise to not forget it during his negotiations.

  17. greenwhodat26 says: Mar 26, 2016 10:34 AM

    Brees isn’t making $30M this season. That is his cap hit. Geez, some of you really embarrass yourselves.

  18. partymoney says: Mar 26, 2016 11:22 AM

    Sean “the scab” Payton, definitely doesn’t have a problem with wanting a paycheck

  19. keylimelight says: Mar 26, 2016 12:05 PM

    Of course Sean Payton has no problem with Brees using leverage–it ain’t Sean Payton’s money that Brees is after.

  20. NinersRule says: Mar 26, 2016 1:10 PM

    Brees should get all he can. Look at Brady– he gave up big money and his own team owner betrayed him.

    Of course, Brady should have known that once a cheater always a cheater, but still…

  21. saints12013 says: Mar 26, 2016 1:27 PM

    Ya exactly, between Spygate, Deflategate, and Kraft writing a letter to Goodell begging for his draft pick back there’s not a more pathetic team in the NFL.

    And Let’s not act like Tom Brady is some super American hero nice guy who takes one for the team either because his wife makes more money than him just to let some photographer snap a few pictures of her.

  22. senatorblutarsky says: Mar 26, 2016 5:33 PM

    Sean Payton has no problem with Drew Brees using his leverage
    But of course he’s lying. More money for Brees = less money for teammates = lesser quality teammates = less wins for Payton = Payton gets fired.

  23. ariani1985 says: Mar 27, 2016 8:45 PM

    But, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but packer fans were saying that he would take the league minimum to play with Rogers! what is going on in turd town these days?

  24. robf2010 says: Mar 28, 2016 7:46 AM

    Brees is a top five QB still playing at a high level and the salary cap went up. He’s not wrecking his team any more than Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Phillip Rivers, etc are wrecking their teams. He will get the going rate and the next guy will get more. That’s the way of the NFL.

    Comparing other QBs to Tom Brady is silly. Besides, Brady has exactly one ring since he started this sacrificing-for-the-good-of-the-team business. He won three of his four rings early in his career before Giselle started wearing the pants in his house.

  25. steelerben says: Mar 28, 2016 9:07 AM

    Maybe I’m confused and it is just the reality of today’s QB starved NFL, but will a 38 year old Drew Brees that is looking to make a billion dollars really be that hot of a commodity?

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