Brees, who had always maximized his earnings from the Saints, traded staying put over getting even more by agreeing to a two-year, $50 million deal. That’s a $25 million annual average, a full $2.5 million per year less than the average payout given to a guy who has started seven largely inconsequential regular-season games.
It’s unknown how much a team like the Vikings or Broncos would have paid Brees. Whatever the gap, it wasn’t big enough to get Brees to leave the Saints. As noted early Tuesday, Brees and his wife simply weren’t inclined to leave.
For a guy who is as competitive as anyone, taking less than lesser quarterbacks to him surely wasn’t easy. But unless Brees would have been willing to pack up and go, the most important element of leverage that comes from free agency — that a player is indeed free — simply didn’t apply to him.
Frankly, it’s surprising he got as much as he did, given his unwillingness to relocate.