Restructuring of Brees’ contract now could create major headaches later


As the Saints try to squeeze key veteran players in the hopes of creating cap space, it seems inevitable that they’ll do some money shuffling with quarterback Drew Brees.

Via a so-called “simple” restructuring, Brees could have millions of 2013 base salary converted to a guaranteed payment that would drop his cap number significantly.

For example, $8.8 million of his $9.75 million base salary for 2013 could be shifted to a guaranteed payment, reducing his base salary for this year to the 10-plus-year veteran minimum of $940,000.  Then, the $8.8 million would be spread over the remaining four years of his deal, dropping the cap number in 2013 by $6.6 million.

Here’s the problem, however.  That would add another $2.2 million in cap charges to each of the final three years of the contract.  Which means that the cap number in 2014 would move from $18.4 million to $20.6 million.  Likewise, Brees’ cap number in 2015 would increase from $26.4 million to $28.6 million.  And the cap number in the final year of his contract would grow from $27.4 million to $29.6 million.

With the salary cap not expected to spike in 2015, or ever, the Saints would be seeing a greater and greater percentage of their total cap space devoted to a player who, as Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune pointed out on PFT Live, already is the oldest member of the team.

In two years, when Brees is 36 and his cap number would be closing in on $30 million, the Saints and their franchise quarterback would be faced with a decision that, depending on how it turns out, could fundamentally alter the direction of the franchise.

Of course, even without a restructuring, Brees still has unprecedentedly gigantic cap numbers looming, at a time when the salary cap is barely growing.

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43 responses to “Restructuring of Brees’ contract now could create major headaches later

  1. Throwing aside just how greedy Brees was, the league really needs to do something about the salary cap. Its ridiculous how one player can be pushing 30 million in cap space. It would be almost nice to see contracts being worth the same amount every contract year IE 3 year 3 million dollars pays 1 million each year. Of course things arent that simple.

  2. I wouldn’t restructure if I was Brees. If some teammates get cut, if they are good… they will be picked up by other teams and probably for more money! The team signed you to a contract (last year), they should honor it!

  3. This is going to end 1 of 2 ways:

    1) Benson will not pay Brees what he is owed because he is cheap (which will be the reason the “Pelicans” will never be a contender)
    2) They will pay Brees and this will handicap the franchise as long as he is under center

  4. Everyone talks about Brees’ money and cap issues but there are 24 other players not just QBs out there who’s cap number is greater than his.

  5. Remove all the cap manipulation mechanisms. It inflates player salaries to ridiculous levels. Make contracts shorter remove all bs bonuses and guarantee the salaries. No holdouts no huge bonus money and hard projected costs.

  6. qbs are the only player worth that cap space. players got screwed in the cba with the cap staying flat but elite qbs are worth it. brees can make medicore wrs look great.

  7. If you’d like me to explain it to you, Drew: NFL teams have a salary cap (how much they can spend on player salaries during the season). Some players demand more money because of how they produce on the field, and some players demand even more money because they can’t ignore the greed. Those greedy players eat up a large portion of that cap space, leaving less to go around for other players who have earned a lucrative – yet reasonable contract. That leaves you with a few very good players surrounded by 30-40 mediocre players.

    That leaves you with the New Orleans Saints.

  8. These are some terrifying numbers. I’m not totally sure on the cap rules but if they were to cut him the year before his deal expires I think all the prorated bonus accelerates into that year which makes him basically un-cuttable.

    The league doesn’t need to do anything about these contracts – players and teams willingly enter into them and they should reap the benefits and costs of exactly what they agree to. Brees’ ego prevented him from ‘only’ earning $15mil a year and allowing the saints to construct a competitive team around him, now he will have to deal with an even worse defense in a couple of years when everyone is earning vet minimum.

  9. When the hell does the cap go back up?

    I know the Veterans ended up getting a defacto raise in the cap with the Rookie salaries being capped much more, but De Smith is going to end up looking real bad if the cap stays flat for like 4 years. I think it is a good thing it is staying flat, but this is really going to end up costing good players at every position except QB.

    The best part is that there will still be teams significantly under the cap.

  10. Well, you can count the saints out of the playoffs for the next few years courtesy of Mr Brees. They have officially become the Oakland Raiders of the NFC.

  11. Goodell should give up some of his multi-million dollar pay so they can raise the cap.yeah, right.

  12. This is why teams should be able to trade cap space. A team rich in cap space could fleece the Saints for picks in one of those “cap hell” years.

    In such circumstance, the Saints would only be screwed for the one year they lose a bunch of picks instead of stinking for however long it would take them to climb out of cap hell. For the cap rich team, they can quickly rebuild with young, cap-friendly, 4-yr indentured servants by taking advantage of the Saints’ plight.

  13. This might be a problem for another team’s general manager, but Mickey Loomis has proven his ability to get the best deals made to help the Saints succeed. Yes, Drew Brees eats up a large chunk of the cap space, but it’s the price you pay to get to the Superbowl. That window is now, when you have him teamed with Sproles, Graham, Colston and Thomas. The defense will improve greatly with a few more tweaks by Loomis and Payton, and then look out!

  14. Brees won’t see the last two years of his contract regardless. He willl be waived or forced to resign a lesser contract period. That’s how things work in the NFL.

  15. Hey Players,

    Your union sucks and the leader of your union is an idiot. Why don’t you fire him? He’s a self-serving jerk. He’s not your fist-pump/chest-pump buddy.

    You play in the most dangerous league in the world that generates over ten billion dollars in revenue. And yet the MLB, NHL and NBA all produce much lower revenue than your league does, but all have have far superior unions.

    Wake the hell up.

  16. He should looke to restructuring but get another two years added to his contract. That way, they delay what everyone knows is ultimately going to happen…..he gets waived on his last one or two years. He gets more money for sure and they get more cap space……

    If not, this is his last year with Saints. Maybe anyway……….

  17. Luckily Brees was able to get every last nickel from the Saints. This gave him more money he’ll never spend to stack on top of other money he already had that he’ll never spend. But he’s all about the team and city of New Orleans, right?

  18. This is why it’s both a blessing and a curse to have a franchise quarterback nowadays. Teams spend so much to lock up their guy that it inevitably leads to glaring weak spots in multiple areas due to cap ramifications.

    Part of me wishes the players would take less so they can have a serious run at the superbowl year in and year out. However, part of me also realizes that players have the right to get as much as they can just as teams have the right to cut them whenever they want.

    Its a lose lose situation.

  19. All you guys following a garbage team are the only ones that won’t face this problem. If you have a great QB he will demand big bucks. Hate on the Saints all you want and keep wishing they go away, but it ain’t gonna happen. We have one of the best GM’s and he will teach you losers how to work the cap. I can’t wait to come back and read all the , “how dd they do that” comments. Stay Tuned Suckers

  20. Brees is only about Brees. He held out on his team during a bad time for the Saints, screwed them with this contract and he got his money. You’re a stand up guy, Drew.

  21. One of the many problems I see with the Brees deal is, that yes, the team is built to win now, but there is no guarantee of a trip to the Super Bowl in the NFC. San Francisco is obviously a team to beat, the Giants have won two Super Bowls in the last five years, while the Packers and Falcons are dangeorus teams. This move/contract would make more sense if they were in the weaker AFC, but this is a big risk for the Saints as the NFC looks for the next couple of years.

  22. The Saints have no choice, they need better players now while they have a great QB. Eventually Brees will get cut and the Saints will take a massive salary cap hit, causing other players to get cut.

    Really, is there any alternative? If you’re a Saints fan, get ready to support a really bad team in a few years.

  23. Man…..I hope most of you all are as much a team player on your job as you want Brees to be. Sorry boss I can’t take that raise cause if do you won’t be able to give Frank from accounting a raise and he might walk. Besides I don’t want the folks on the cleaning crew to think I’m greedy. I make so much more than them and here I am asking for more.

  24. Brees asked for that much money on his contract because he was getting screwed on the former contract (undervalued due to the shoulder injury).

    The reason the Saints were awful last year was due to their inability to draft or sign valuable defensive players (the only exception being Malcolm Jenkins). They have enough money aside from Drew’s contract to get valuable players and it would make a big difference if they didn’t waste 1st round draft picks on a running back when they have 3 already.

    2 years from now they’ll write up a new contract to alleviate some of this and ask Drew when he’ll retire. Based on what he’s done there he should be able to play out his career THERE on his terms.

  25. Like it or not, Brees fan or not. He is the best player on the team. QBs like that are rare. If they weren’t, every team would have one. Pay the man and move on.

  26. All these super pro Loomis people make me chuckle. I’m not saying he’s terrible, but he’s a lot better due to hiring Payton as his HC. Remember this is the same GM who gave Aaron Brooks a fat contract and Brooks was never a franchise anything.

  27. Why is it always Brees is greedy and no one ever talks about how greedy Manning or Brady are? Their contracts are just about as bad to the cap as Brees’. The Saints should have taken care of him sooner, but Mickey was as much of a hold out as Drew. Drew will do the right thing when the time comes.

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