It’s not really news that the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees (more accurately, his agent) will discuss the parameters of a new contract at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. With all teams and all agents in town for multiple days, it’s a given that discussions will be had, especially when one franchise is facing the theoretical loss of one of the true, short-list franchise quarterbacks.
The real question is whether and to what extent parameters of a contract for Brees will be discussed by agent Tom Condon and other teams. Yes, Brees has said on multiple occasions that he plans to stay with the Saints. Even if he’s not testing the Saints in order to see whether they use his words as a way to lowball him (personally, I think he is), it’s impossible to properly evaluate the quality of the offer made by Drew’s current team without knowing how he is valued by other teams.
There’s a dollar threshold below which an offer from the Saints to Brees will be regarded by the player as an insult. That threshold can’t properly be determined without knowing the ceiling that other teams would offer.
What if, for example, the Vikings decide to reprise the Brett Favre experiment, breaking open the vault (and sending Brad Childress to the airport) in an effort to go all in for the pursuit of a Super Bowl with Brees on board? If they’d offer, say, $30 million per year on a two-year deal, a Saints offer of, say, $23 million per year on a two-year deal would look much different than $23 million per year would seem to be in isolation.
Whether it’s the Vikings, the Broncos, the Cardinals, the Jets, the Browns, or anyone else, what’s lurking behind Door No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, or beyond will go a long way toward assessing what the Saints place behind Door No. 1. Before Condon gives Brees a recommendation on what to do about the offer from the Saints, Condon will need to be able to put New Orleans’ offer in context.
Of course, teams making their actual or hypothetical offers known to Condon constitute tampering. But that’s how the game works, and every team plays the game. Especially at the Scouting Combine.