Exclusive franchise tag for Brees could cost Saints less than $16 million

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If the Saints want to keepDrew Brees from having the ability to sign an offered with a team that would be willing to give the Saints two first-round draft picks as compensation for a “very good” quarterback, it won’t cost them as much in 2012 as previously believed.

The non-exclusive franchise tender for quarterbacks is expected to be in the range of a one-year, $14.4 million salary.  The exclusive franchise tender, which will be based on the 2012 salary cap numbers for the five highest-paid quarterbacks, currently is expected to fall in the range of $15 million to $16 million.

As a source with knowledge of the calculation explained to PFT this afternoon, the upcoming release of Peyton Manning and restructurings by quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger, whose cap number for 2012 plummeted from $16.92 million to $8.895 million, will drive down the average for the top five quarterbacks.  (That said, if a team like the Chiefs signs Peyton Manning to a front-loaded deal with a huge cap number in 2012, the average for the five highest-paid quarterbacks will be higher.)

Despite the risk of a quarterback contract with a skewed 2012 cap number, the downward trend makes use of the exclusive tender a no-brainer for the Saints.  And it’s likely prompting the team to be willing to employ Brees on a year-to-year basis.  If, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports, Brees wants a deal that pays out an average of $23 million annually for the first three years, the Saints could choose instead to pay him, based on the high side of the estimate, $16 million this year, $19.2 million in 2013 (i.e., 120 percent of the 2012 number, as required by the CBA), and $27.648 million in 2014 (i.e., 144 percent of the 2013 number, as required by the CBA).  That’s a total of $62.848 million over three years, more than $6 million less than the $69 million Brees supposedly wants in that same period.

That said, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Brees hasn’t asked for $23 million annually over three years.  Still, as long as Brees’ number is higher than $20.9 million, the year-to-year approach makes sense.

Of course, in three years the Saints would have to end the dance, since under the CBA the tender would rocket to $39.8 million.  By then, however, Brees will be 36.  And the question will be whether he wants to play the last few seasons of his career in New Orleans, or elsewhere.

29 responses to “Exclusive franchise tag for Brees could cost Saints less than $16 million

  1. They better sign him quick. They may not have many picks and much cash left after this Gregg Williams fiasco comes out.

  2. I don’t understand why don’t they just let their “very good” quarterback test the market?

  3. Yeah yeah, there’s bigger issues right now with the Saints than Brees ATM.

  4. 63 MILLION dollars to play a “game”. If they only played regular games, no post season, that translates into $ 21,875.00 per MINUTE. INSANE!!

  5. I can’t believe they won’t just sign him to a long term deal and make him the face of the franchise, well except for that ugly birth mark or whatever it is on his face.

  6. Well with the news of New Orleans paying a bounty to injure players is likely going to hurt the franchise more than we expect. I think it will cost them draft picks, money, and the biggest hit will be to their reputation. Maybe the honeymoon here is over and Brees contract talks will take a turn for the worst.

  7. I’d take him in a heartbeat at his price. Seahawks with Brees means winning.

    That fool of an owner can twirl his umbrella all he wants but without Brees the Saints are going nowhere. Save a penny to show who’s boss. Dumb!

  8. I can see why Loomis hasn’t closed this deal yet. More pressing concerns on his mind……….

  9. Negotiating tool. That’s it.

    Sign him to a long-term deal…..only way to treat your team leader/franchise QB.

    This guy ran spring training during the lockout last year for pete’s sake!

  10. Sheesh. Nobody’s worth $23mil a year. That’s almost baseball numbers. :/

  11. Not a lot surprises me in the NFL anymore, but I got to say I thought this one would play out different.

  12. Saints need to save money. Those bounties they pay to injure players ain’t cheap.

    2009 Super Bowl *

  13. and suddenly New Orleans emerges as a “team you wouldn’t expect until you think about it.”

    Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne are both from New Orleans.

  14. This a no brainer for Mr. Benson, he is all for the money. Drew has done everything for that team and has put up the numbers and Benson won’t put his money up. I would think big mistake, so I would not want him to leave and sign with another team. But let him go and quit being so cheap. You will see you will be back in a pile like
    you were before. Bree’s will be 36 when you have to give him more money and then you will cut him and Shawn will be gone and be in Texas. Heck it is written all over the wall, he will never see his third year. And he will never see a packed dome again. He would not pay Bobby Hebert and let him go to Atlanta and he would come back and give him a butt whipping. Now you have more news that there are bounty’s on them. What a fool.

  15. If I were Bree’s agent, he would be holding out until the Saints agreed on a contract.

    Let the Saints start the year without Brees and see how well they do.

    $16 million may seem a lot of money to most people, but a Super Bowl winning quarterback coming off a fantastic year, that about $5 million less than what he would get on the open market.

    No money, no play.

  16. As much as Brees deserves the money, I’d rather play for less, because the Saints have a lot of guys they’re going to lose to free agency, like Cholston. I think that’s what the GM is getting at.

  17. Now if its gonna take only 2 first rds to get brees…niners should franchise DG…and sign brees and pay him we have a late pick this yr and will have another late one last yr so it sounds worth it to me because with him I see superbowl for the niners…sorry alex u did good but ill take brees

  18. whatnojets says:Mar 2, 2012 3:25 PM

    63 MILLION dollars to play a “game”. If they only played regular games, no post season, that translates into $ 21,875.00 per MINUTE. INSANE!!
    Now if an owner is willing to pay that much for some one to “play a game” imagine how much he’s raking in.

  19. Sorry Brees but now you are being greedy…Do you honestly think you are better than Tom Brady and Peyton Manning to deserve 23 mill per season? I would rather have the guarantee of a long term contract that pays less at 16 mill instead of an “exclusive franchise” temporary employee.

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