With quarterback Drew Brees committed to staying with the Saints and the Saints committed to sticking with Brees (and assuming Brees isn’t simply daring the Saints to lowball him), what will his next contract look like?
It surely won’t be a one-year deal, because he already counts $18 million against the 2018 cap, whether he’s a Saint or not. They’ll undoubtedly work out something with a large signing bonus that covers four years or more, allowing the cap hit to be spread over four or more seasons — and also allowing the 2018 cap charge to be minimized.
If the goal is to pay Brees $25 million this year, he’d get (for example) a $24 million signing bonus and a $1 million salary. On a four-year deal, it’s a cap charge of $7 million for 2018, pushing his total cap number for 2018 to $25 million.
The question then becomes setting his compensation and cap hit for 2019; he’d have $6 million in charges from 2019, and the balance of his pay (roster bonus, salary) for next year would be added to that. Of course, a large chunk of next year’s package eventually could be converted to a signing bonus in 2019, driving down next year’s cap charge.
But that would also drive up the cap charges in future years. Which will once again put them in a spot where they’ll be taking a significant cap charge during the first year after Brees no longer is a member of the Saints.