Football season essentially has begun, with the opening of camp. But Saints quarterback Drew Brees is willing to continue to entertain contract offers from the team until football season actually launches, with Week One of the regular season.
Brees reiterated the deadline for doing a new deal during Thursday comments to the media from training camp in West Virginia.
“My approach is when the season is here it’s all about the season, I don’t want to be worrying about a contract or anything else,” Brees said. “My mind will be on the preparation week to week on the next opponent. If there’s something to be done, it’s between now and the season.”
Since it’s a deadline-driven business, the safest bet is a deal will come, if at all, in the days before the regular-season opener.
“Just to clarify, nothing is adversarial,” Brees said at one point on Thursday. “I have a great relationship with Mickey Loomis and have for my entire time here. This is just that part of the business let’s call it where, obviously, conversations happen in regards to the contract it’s between my agent Tom Condon and Mickey Loomis and, obviously, I am kept abreast as to the way those conversations are going. I think there’s a process to this and it isn’t an exact science and it isn’t an exact process. We’ll see how this shakes out over the next month and a half.”
While the questions from reporters have yet to focus on the ultimate hammer Brees holds, the 43.2-million pound elephant remains in the room. If the Saints use the franchise tag on Brees for what would be the third time of his career, he would be entitled to a 44-percent raise over his $30 million cap number for 2016.
Which translates to a tag of $43.2 million. Which also translates to a low likelihood that the team would invest so much cap and cap space in a quarterback who turns 38 in January. Which means the market would set his value next year. Which means the anticipated market would set his value now.
Which means that Condon and Loomis need to get on the same page as to what Brees would be worth on the open market in order to get on the same page as to his value moving forward. From the player’s perspective, however, his age won’t be a factor in his value.
“I don’t see any reason why I can’t play at the highest level for the next five years minimum,” Brees said. “It really comes down to how long do I want to play.”
Eventually, it also may come down to where he wants to play. Because Brees may have the ability to do what he last did in 2006: Hit the market and look for his next destination.