The Saints-Brees P.R. battle quietly has begun

AP

The report that Saints quarterback Drew Brees was willing to re-do his contract to help the Saints sign cornerback Josh Norman, which emerged after it was too late for the Saints to sign Josh Norman, seems on the surface to be good news for a team that desperately needs to chop down its franchise quarterback’s $30 million cap number. But it’s actually bad news.

It’s bad news because it’s the first shot in a P.R. battle between player and team that will quietly (or loudly) play out until he either signs an extension between now and the end of the 2016 season or inks a new contract after his current deal expires.

Consider the specific language of the report tweeted by Ed Werder of ESPN: “I’m told [Brees] personally wanted [Josh Norman] on team and was willing to modify contract to make it happen. Effort failed.”

So why did Brees tell this to Werder after Norman signed with Washington? (Yeah, Werder didn’t say Brees was the source, but Brees or his agent clearly were the source.) Brees is likely bracing for the backlash that may come from Saints fans who realize that Brees’ $30 million cap number for 2016 was the primary impediment to getting Norman.

The $30 million cap number didn’t suddenly emerge on the books. It’s been there since March 9, keeping the Saints from making the kind of moves that could have been made if Brees counted for less this season. It’s remained there because the Saints and Brees can’t work out a new contract.

The Saints and Brees can’t work out a new contract because Brees undoubtedly wants to leverage (as he should) a $20 million payout in 2016 and what would be a $43.2 million franchise tender in 2017 into a long-term deal that doesn’t just inch past Joe Flacco by $100,000 or so per year but that blows the lid off the quarterback market, at least until Andrew Luck signs a long-term deal and surpasses it.

Fans and media seem to be coming around to the idea that there’s nothing wrong with players getting as much money as they can, given the risks and realities of playing pro football — and in light of the fact that no one criticizes owners for making as much money as possible. But Brees, who made $60 million from 2006 through 2011, made $80 million from 2012 through 2015, and will make $20 million this year, could soon find himself being called out by New Orleans fans and media for wanting so much that it hurts the team.

As a result, Brees seems to be trying to short circuit any criticism by creating the impression that he’s not hurting the team by wanting so much that the Saints have been unable to reduce his cap number with a contract extension. The next question is whether the Saints will push back, either by leaking details of what Brees has been requesting on a new deal or by planting the seed with local reporters and columnists that Brees should be called out for putting the team in a tough spot by not agreeing to a new contract before free agency opened.

If the Saints do that, the Brees camp could respond, and an all-out P.R. battle could emerge.

The best move for both sides will be to work out a contract and avoid the ugliness that could be looming. If that doesn’t happen before the start of the season, the one thing that ultimately could be looming come 2017 is a divorce, because there’s no way the Saints can allocate $43.2 million in cap space next year to a quarterback who will be 38 in nine months.

58 responses to “The Saints-Brees P.R. battle quietly has begun

  1. He’s 37 and the Saints aren’t very good, with or without him.
    Can’t extend him based on past performance, but what he can do going forward.
    Not worth it.

  2. Betcha 1000 to one he would not even do this for his own team. Love to see that tackle of theirs in FA, Armstead.

  3. Bree’s has his SB and now he wants as much money as he can get before he retires. Can’t blame him but it is at the expense of Saints fans. He is just spitting BS now to cover his butt. If he cared about winning he would have done something to keep Jimmy around last year. Enjoy your 1 SB and all your money Drew, you always were a skid mark.

  4. Not a Saint fan or hater but take what you can get Brees. Teams always try to break the deals they initially offered so they don’t have to pay. So why this is money us regulars cant even fathom take it and enjoy it cause NFL knows years from know when your brain may not be right from helping build this evil empire they will try to deny any wrong doing and not pay out later

  5. I’m sure it was an associate of Brees’ agent and likely a strategy thought up by the agent. There’s also a more Machavellian explanation. The agent may be making sure all the parties know, including Sean Payton, the Saints ownership, and potential free agents know that Brees will adjust his contract for the right player. My guess is Brees’ agent heard from Norman’s agent saying the Saints GM said they REALLY wanted Norman but their hands were tied by Brees’ contract so would they take less in the front end for bigger money (likely not guaranteed) at the backend. That’s the kind of info, if leaked from Norman’s camp, would harm Brees’ image more than a leak from the Saints. That’s also the kind of leverage a GM would want in his back pocket, so it may be Brees’ agent let the GM know but thenGM didn’t share that info with anyone. Well its shared now.

  6. Seems to me the smart thing for the Saints to do, it to let Brees play out the contract, instead of pushing the 30 mil cap hit into the future.

    The he can re-sign a 4 year contract at the going rate, that has more options after year 2 and 3, in case he starts to decline.

  7. I have no sympathy for Brees, the Saints or their fans as it regards Brees contract. There were many of us who commented back when Brees and the Saints did his insane contract that it would haunt the Saints for many years to come…….they didn’t listen and Saints fans laughed. When the Saints last did Brees contract, the team was in full-blown rebuild mode and were cutting other players left and right to stay under the cap but yet they paid an aging QB a ransom to QB a skeleton of a team. Well, the chickens have now come home to roost and let the fireworks begin. Grab some popcorn and have a good laugh.

  8. irishtony85 says:
    Apr 23, 2016 10:42 AM
    He ain’t worth half that. Dude is nowhere near as good as he once was.
    ——–
    Drew Brees 2015 season:
    4870 yds passing – lead league
    32 TD passes
    11 int
    101 rating
    68.3 completion percentage

    Ummm….irishtoney what are you talking about?

  9. Brees is like Manning. Very greedy.

    Why wasn’t that already done?

    Also, how is Loomis still employed? I know Benson is old and likely has memory issues, but look no further than Loomis as to how NOT to run a team in the cap era. You won your SB in 2009. It’s now 2016 and you’re not close to having a team built to make a run.

    For all the glory people like Manning and Brees get, in the team department and doing what is right, neither can hold Brady’s jock.

    I would be ticked off if my QB was handicapping the franchise like that.

  10. Brees said months ago that he was open to doing something about the cap hit if asked to do so. Since then the Saints have done nothing about it.

    Lets not forget that Brees is not the one who created this problem for the Saints. The cap is an artificial ceiling created by the owners. They say it’s to put all teams on an equal financial footing, but it’s real purpose is to artificially hold down wages of players ( one of the primary aspects of socialism in the trust-exempt NFL ). The NFLPA is complicit in it, too.

    If guys like Brees and Brady were paid their true value in relation to the money they earn for the owners ( billions ) they would easily justify $100 million per year contracts. Nobody buys tickets to see Jerry Jones put a girly hug on Chris Christie.

  11. Saints are $60 million under the cap for next year. They will highly likely sign Brees to 4 year extension, but if that does not happen, lots of cap room to play with and a young team to build upon. Even after signing Brees to extension, lots of cap room to play with to help potentially build a super bowl contender again for Brees last run.

    Until Josh Norman suddenly was available, there were no big ticket free agents this year that Saints wanted. So why not just allow the 30 million cap hit for Brees this year and get it out of the way, with small hit next year in new deal.

  12. Brees is done in NOs when that contract expires. If they wanted to extend him and spread some money out like Brady has done, they would have had it done already. It would have been the first thing they worked on when their season ended.

    Brady does it on a flight across the country for chrissakes.

    The arrogance and hypocrisy of the media and some fans.

    Let’s all praise Flacco and Brees, neither on Brady’s level, yet let’s watch Goodell enable two AFC franchises to concoct a lie and engineeer a witch hunt Sheriff Goebbels knows to be a lie, just because he knows 95% of the NFL fans hate the Pats/Brady.

    Meanwhile, a greedy Brees, Flacco, the Mannings, etc, all get praised by the media.

    Disgusting.

  13. @miamisaint3255

    You do realize being that far under the cap that your team sucks, correct?

    Being that far under the cap means you are rebuilding, which is what your team is really doing right now, without telling you about it.

    All bad teams are either WAY under the cap or right up to it or over it, constantly doing restructures or not signing many quality FAs.

    Building a team is about keeping as much continuity and chemistry with your base through the draft and development.

    Can you honestly say Mickey Loomis has done that in recent years?

    Baltimore is the same way, and the common denominator is one thing:

    A 20 mil per year QB due to the FLacco stupidity by Ozzie, because each GM didn’t budget for their franchise QB in time, arrogantly ignoring it, spending to the cap and renting free agents while having bad drafts.

    Disaster.

    Go down the list of overpaid QBs in this league, which is a deep list, and you’ll see a team in some version of cap hell.

    Ozzie Newsome
    John Elway (good thing NE was so injured and Cam Newton crapped himself with an assist from Gomer’s Chinese roids from Guyer)
    Woody Johnson (their real GM)
    Mickey Loomis
    Mike Tannenbum
    Jerry Reese

    All of these teams either have wildly overpaid QBs or NO QB.

  14. @USMUtts

    If what you say is true, then the Saints aren’t planning on extending Brees because it would have already been done.

    They see the fade and don’t want to keep pumping high end QB money into a cap hell.

    That’s what it means.

    It means they’ll draft a QB, likely next year, groom and then walk from Brees.

  15. “The $30 million cap number didn’t suddenly emerge on the books. It’s been there since March…
    ____________________

    It has been looming since 2012. Folks looking to blame Brees’ greed should step back and think for a moment. Very few back loaded mega deals are ever allowed to get to their final year. Why did this one?

  16. So he gobbles up about 40% of cap space for the entire team. How much does his O-line make? Yeah, thought so. I ‘spose greed is good if you’re the one getting the benefit.

  17. PFT-made-me-change-my-handle says:
    Apr 23, 2016 10:39 AM
    I hate the Patriots as much as anyone, but maybe it’s time for Brees to take the Tom Brady route.

    ————————————————

    So actually you love the Patriots and wish you could love the Saints instead?

  18. @tremoluxman

    They were overpaying Evans and before that, Hicks, for years.

    That was Mickey Loomis being dumb all the way back to 2010 when he wildly overpaid Jahri Evans.

    Your last real sniff at being a SB contender was all the way back then. It’s 2016.

    Call it a massive ego problem and SB hangover that has lasted over 5 years.

    Anyone can open a checkbook. Look at Elway. He did it, lost all of his good draft picks, is now wasting money on Ward, Talib, Thomas, etc, with no QB, as they rebuild for years to come.

    Good thing Newton puked all over himself and the Broncos dodged a somewhat healthy Pats team, huh?

  19. How do u not want a GM like Loomis. Saints can have a dollar in cap space but he will find a way to make a splash in free agency. You say that they cut all these veterans because they can’t afford them any longer because of Brees but when you look at who’ve they’ve cut those players really haven’t done much with those new teams.
    The only player I wish they would have kept would be Jenkins but besides him I would say even thou I liked the other cut players the Saints let them go at the right time. Better a year early than a year late.

  20. Great QB but his cap hit is holding back the team. He needs to think about how much longer he wants to play and what he wants to accomplish. If he wants another ring, might as well try to force a trade to Denver for picks. If he wants to pile up money, stay with the Saints and play for a really bad team for 2-3 more years.

  21. Nothing wrong with Brees holding his ground. Anytime a player outperforms their contract the teams usually will not adjust because ” the player agreed to that contract and should honor it” yet teams are quick to want to terminate contract as soon as that backloaded money comes into play which they never had any intentions of paying in the first place. I think this swings both ways and both should honor it. The saints knew Brees would be 38 at this time when they made the contract. im a Tampa bay fan and have no dog in this fight. It would actually benefit me if he left just stating my opinion

  22. tylawspick6 says:
    Apr 23, 2016 11:14 AM

    ….

    Meanwhile, a greedy Brees, Flacco, the Mannings, etc, all get praised by the media.

    Disgusting.
    ——————————-

    no need to hate on those guys for doing what most of us would do and trying to maximize their income.

    Goodel is the incompetent, dishonest, sleazy, self serving, spineless, integrity free liar responsible for the smeargate travesty.
    Hating Brees for that wastes perfectly good bile that should be saved for loud and continuous denunciations of Greasy Roger Sleazeball.

  23. With his foot issue probably not over, but only worsening with each season and age, signing this guy to a long term guaranteed money extension and cap hit would be a colossal mistake for the Saints…..

  24. @Pirate Freedom

    I want the player to get all they can get, but within in reason.

    Either Brees is stupid (not the case being a Purdue grad) or he is very greedy. It’s also completely irresponsible by Loomis.

    Look at ELway. He drafts a good QB prospect, but forgets to get him a new deal, knowing Gomer is cooked.

    So, what is the point of drafting and developing Osweiler, if he is your best option moving forward, but if you forgot to budget for him? Complete irresponsibility, so I hope Denver enjoys being a non-factor for years to come.

    The player/the agent has to know how such a bad contract can devastate a franchise like that.

    As a Pats fan, when Brady signed his record breaking (at the time) in 2010, he did that because the union needed his name and Brees’s on a the lawsuit going into the lockout as a formality. Brady was ticked off the union had to use him for that, even if he understood.

    In other words, Brady wasn’t happy how long that took and how much he took, because he knew it would hurt their cap position.

    The second it made sense to extend and “restructure”, he did it, making the situation more manageable for Belichick.

    Brees did not do this. Nor did Flacco, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, etc, etc, etc. The Flacco deal triggered this wave of stupidity to the point the market is bloated for QBs, due to thin quality but also HIGH demand, which us why Osweiler got 18 mil and Tannehill/Dalton are wildly overpaid as well.

    Meanwhile, Brady’s contract looks like good, solid market value as he gets OLDER.

    So, you tell me?

    It takes two to tango and Brees’s greed and Loomis’s small balls at the negotiating table now has them in a cap hell for forseeable future.

    60 mil under the cap next year for NOs means nothing without good drafting and development, because all you do is find yourself doing what Elway just did, which never really works without incredible luck.

    I wouldn’t like the 2015 Broncos odds from year to year.

    It worked out for them, but they needed unbelievable luck with such bad QB play from Gomer “Guyer” Manning, didn’t they?

    Pats had 21 players on IR, 10 of which were starters or key complementary players, and Cam Newton’s ego took over, and voila Denver wins the SB.

    But, they’re in deep crap for years to come with the mass exodus due to cap hell, no QB, nothing in sight, and weak in-house developed players.

    That’s not how you should want to draw it up if you’re a good GM.

  25. I’m neither here nor there regarding the Saints, but if Brees REALLY wanted them to improve this off season with a blue chip defensive talent, he’d have restructured or redone his contract.
    Make no mistake Brees is a really good QB, but the Saints don’t have the pieces around him to make it work…..and the cap hit is insane.

  26. @Kneedragr

    Denver is in a cap hell and can’t even afford Kaeperenick.

    There is no way he is tradeabale unless to a rebuilding, crap team with tons of cap space.

  27. So we are to believe he was willing to re-do his contract to free up cap space to sign Norman? What happened to re-doing the contract before free agency to bring in more talent? A real team player.

  28. The cap issue for the Saints isnt really Brees, its a guy named Money…Dead Money. Without that dead money, they actually would be in very good shape cap-wise. Brees has played 11 years for 160 mil in NO. Actually quite fair. You get a SB winning QB, misses one game in 11 years, and consistently near the top of QB performace for under 15 mill a year. He didnt backload the contract. The Saints did.

  29. I think Brees is lying. It’s always something you can say after the fact. Like after a friend moves you can say you would have helped if he would have called you when in reality you breathed a sigh of relief when he didn’t.

  30. qb’s job is to win games, no matter what. Brees has gone 7-9 last two years…
    lots of garbage yardage gotten in the 4th qtr pads his stats but the only stat that matters is the big W.

  31. In my opinion :

    NFL is greedy, NFL Owners are greedy, and Drew Brees is also greedy…
    Whatever deal they come to The Saints will easily be able to afford it..
    Can’t blame a guy for trying to get as much as the market will bear – but when greedy players are negotiating with greedy teams – noone to root for in those deals.

    If he was on his 1st contract and wanted the big $$ after becoming a superstar – by all means…

    but watching a guy who has already pocketed what – 80million? push for the max – just doesn’t go over well.

    He’ll get his $$ and probably have nagging injuries plus age and a lousy team that will all contribute to a major decline in his play…

    The Saints stink and will not turn it around quickly…I would actually trade him – get value and take a shot on a young guy…you are going to stink anyway…

  32. tremoluxman says:
    Apr 23, 2016 11:32 AM
    So he gobbles up about 40% of cap space for the entire team. How much does his O-line make? Yeah, thought so. I ‘spose greed is good if you’re the one getting the benefit.
    ___________________

    40%? The cap is $155.27 million per team, you might want to double check the math. Brees didn’t write the contract or fail to make a decent restructure offer before it got to it’s final year either. Rather than looking at the coming year’s contract, that will most likely never see a snap, a little perspective might be in order. Brady is always pointed at as playing for less but while he could certainly command more that less is actually more reflective of his cap number not his cash earnings. His contract almost always gets ripped up in 3 years or less and there’s a new one with a big restructure/signing bonus. In his 16 year career Brady has earned $162.8M, in 15 years Brees has earned $12.5M less. For a little mor perspective Eli Manning has been paid $187.8 million in 12 years, I am a Giants fan but I have to say Brees has been a relative bargain by comparison.

  33. One_Time_At_Band_Camp says:
    Apr 23, 2016 12:48 PM

    i’d cut him and sign Manziel and Pryor, let those BEASTS battle it out
    ——————————————————————
    That’s one way to get fired I guess.

  34. He’s not worth the money. What has he done for NO lately? That $30M is killing the cap for the rest of the team. I don’t blame him for taking the money, but you just can’t expect a championship team around you (clearly the Saints aren’t). If he restructures, he’ll still get that $$$ down the road. NO would be smart to move on from him. He’s too old and won’t be around when NO is ready to make a move. They should trade him while he still has some value, but again that $30M cap number is killing them.

  35. Brees and his family/kids are set up forever on his contract to and endorsements. If he wants to win he should take $10 mil a year and let the Saints sign some players. They’ll be in the hunt if they pick the right players.

  36. He’s in Pepsi and Tides commercials. Can’t think of a QB with more endorsements than this overpaid bum. Brady has the rings and winning pedigree to prove he’s a better man.

  37. The NFL should do away with the cap altogether. The market would work itself out eventually. The cap protects the owners profits more than anything else.

  38. Bree’s is greedy and doesn’t care about his team or Saints fans! He’s screwed the team, the other 52 players with his greed for as much $$$ as he can get, damm the Losses and non-playoff appearances.

    Brees is greedy!

  39. Trash Brees all you want, but one way to beat or at least minimize cap hell is to draft good, young, cheap cap-friendly players. The reason for the Saints’ recent downturn has as much to do with questionable drafting by Saints’ management as it does to dead cap money and Brees’ cap hit.

  40. Trash Brees all you want, but one way to beat or at least minimize cap hell is to draft good, young, cheap cap-friendly players.
    _________________________________________

    Brees is NOT young…NOT Cheap..and soon to be NOT GOOD…

  41. For everyone here singing the praises of tom Brady’s contract, don’t forget he’s married to a supermodel who dwarfs all nfl players and salary and also that Kraft will somehow repay him when he retires.

  42. Most of these posts are obviously from fans whose teams have never been to 1 Super Bowl, much less WON 1 Super Bowl. Did somebody say 1 and done about Brees? Probably traumatized by a parent who was a “four in a row” Bills fan. Maybe a “two in a decade” Panthers fan. Raggin’ on Brees for the deal his agent made back in ’12? That’s as crazy as wanting Norman on the team. Can’t wait to see what he does in DC. There’s plenty of blame to go around in NOLA, but it’s just plain stupid to put any of that on Brees. All he has done is make the Saints relevant for awhile and bring a Lombardi to New Orleans. I’ll take it. Another would be nice in my lifetime, but not necessary. Either way when Brees retires as a player I retire as a fan. It was fun in 2009 and I apparently have a better memory than the nimrods trashing Drew. Hell yeah they all make crazy money, but as long as we watch every Sunday that blame falls on each and every one of us. More so on the turncoats that love em and cheer em when it’s all good, and call em names and bitch about the crazy money they get. “$20 mil a year?? Oh no Mickey I can’t let you pay me that much money!!! It wouldn’t be right!!!” Said and will say no one ever. Norman likely would’ve been the next Browner or Gallet. I seriously doubt the validity of that and most other news media crap that passes for journalism. It’s offseason and they gotta write about something. Or nothing. Drew….. eternal thanks for the player you are, have been, and will be on the field and respect and admiration double the thanks for the man you’ve been off the field. You took the lead in saving New Orleans in 2006 and since. For those of us Cajuns that love Nawlins that’s the big deal. The super Bowl was lagniappe. Priorities people.

  43. Brees gets traded before the start of the 2016 NFL Draft….Brees will not take a paycut so he will be traded to the NY Jets for their 1st & 2nd round picks this year & a 2nd round pick in 2017…

  44. Well, the chickens have now come home to roost and let the fireworks begin. Grab some popcorn and have a good laugh.
    ========================
    Super Bowl 44 Champions…Worth every penny!

  45. Without drafting solid lineman on both sides of the ball all of this Brees and Norman talk is moot. Keenan may be done with the hip, but there’s no corner in the world that can cover well if the D line can’t penetrate (or stop the run).

    A lot of folks also fail to see that it’s cheaper to pay Brees his money this year and move on in 2017 than it would be to sign him to a contract into his early 40s.

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