Reminder: Drew Brees was a free agent

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Thanksgiving ends with the Saints hosting the Falcons on NBC, a game that will become the latest chapter in quarterback Drew Brees‘ run for his first-ever league MVP award.

And it’s worth pointing out, with Brees playing better than ever, that anyone could have signed him in March.

Some (me) argued that the Vikings, who witnessed Brees’ abilities via his efforts to lead the Saints back from a 17-0 deficit in the playoffs, should have made Brees an offer he couldn’t refuse. If, after all, Kirk Cousins is worth $28 million per year, what is Brees worth?

Sure, Brees benefits from the presence of coach Sean Payton and teammates like running back Alvin Kamara, running back Mark Ingram, and receiver Michael Thomas. But Brees has proven that he’s a rare talent, and it’s safe to say that the Vikings (who have plenty of weapons, too) would be better than 5-4-1 right now with Brees. Other teams that have underachieved with less-than-franchise quarterbacks also would be doing better with Brees.

What if, for example, the Jaguars had pulled the plug on Blake Bortles and gone all in with Brees? What if the Broncos had opted to pay whatever they needed to pay to get Brees?

Any team that was looking for a quarterback should have been looking at Brees, who wasn’t inclined to leave New Orleans but who surely would have had a number to which he couldn’t have said no. It never came to that, possibly due to fears that Brees’ inevitable decline could have come this season.

If definitely hasn’t. And he looks like a guy who could keep playing as long as he wants to play. As the Saints play deep into January, plenty of other teams who are waiting for next year will be wishing Brees had been playing for them.

63 responses to “Reminder: Drew Brees was a free agent

  1. Brees has a better O-line in NO, plus a decade of rapport with Payton. Best fit for him and the team IMHO.

  2. Of course…was Brees ever interested in actually leaving New Orleans?
    Easy to say he was technically a free agent. Another thing entirely that was willing to entertain the Vikings or anyone’s offer.

  3. I don’t think there’s any reasonable offer that was out there that new orleans didn’t easily beat. The man is a legend in that city.

  4. He wasn’t leaving New Orleans.

    Let’s be honest, you shouldn’t break the bank for a player of that age because when a QB falls around 40 they fall fast and hard. Going all in on Brees means that if he falls off you are dooming a stacked team (because presumably only a stacked team would attempt to get him) and slamming shut your window because you invested in an old quarterback who started playing like an old quarterback.

  5. To get a guy for 2 years at tops is great, it worked for Denver with Manning. But look at Denver now, they’ve been about a .500 team since with no real direction 3 years later. And if you don’t hoist the Lombardi in those 2 years you’re a GM without a job. And even if you are the GM that won the SB, look at elway now, people want him out…

  6. Yes technically he was a free agent but realistically he was never going to leave the Saints. Do you honestly believe that although the deal wasn’t signed before the deadline it wasn’t done verbally between the two parties? You also have to take into account how well Brees and Payton work together. Is he really going to leave that relationship to risk it going badly with other coaches and offensive schemes he doesn’t know? Not only coaches, Brees could see last year how good the Saints offensive could be, he’d stuck around when they weren’t contending why leave now when the offensive was stacked and the D looked good enough to make the team one of the best in the NFC (at least). Finally it’s sometimes not all about money. Would Brees risk tarnishing his legacy by leaving the Saints? Would the upheaval of moving his family really be worth it for a few extra bucks when he’s already made enough to keep generations of his family financially secure for the rest of their lives? So yes Brees was briefly a free agent but the chances of him leaving the Saints were slim and none….and Slim had left town long ago.

  7. As I recall there were reports the Vikings had offered $30m+ to Drew Brees, but Drew was only listening to the Saints (who proceeded to exploit his loyalty with a crappy contract) I thought it was reported on PFT even…

  8. Or MAYBE Brees has loyalty to the club that took a chance on him over Culpepper years back.
    Or MAYBE Brees didn’t want to uproot his family from NO to go to Minny?
    Or MAYBE Drew didn’t want to ruin what he thought, and rightfully so, a good thing down in the big easy?
    Or Maybe he realized that he didn’t want to gamble his name and legacy over a few million dollars when he realized he’s already richer than God.
    OR MAYBE it’s a combination of some of the “or” statements listed above?

  9. Nonsense. Bree’s was very clear and said multiple times that he was only signing with New Orleans.

    And there’s something called a salary cap in the NFL. Read up on it. A team also has to pay the other 52 players as well and elite quarterbacks have been in the 17% range (1997 Brett Favre to this year’s Matt Ryan).

  10. Correct technically, but Brees owes as much to New Orleans as New Orleans does to him. He’s not your typical “I need X number of millions or I’m outta here” guy, and loyalty to his coach, ownership, his team and the city are above all. And OH BY THE WAY, he’s playing to win another Super Bowl at age 39 – could that absolutely be said in another city?

  11. “ elite quarterbacks have been in the 17% range (1997 Brett Favre to this year’s Matt Ryan).”

    I hope this isn’t some doped up suggestion that Ryan is elite, or that Brees isn’t.

  12. Unsure if it’s just Brees. Look at Stafford. As good as he is, his won loss record is not good at all yet he can throw the ball with the best of them.

  13. ”And there’s something called a salary cap in the NFL. Read up on it”
    I think the point, at least with the Vikings, is that they did go out and spend a lot of money on a QB. The question being posed is not whether a team should invest that much of their cap space at the QB position. Rather, if the team is committed to spending, should they have made a run a Brees before committing to someone like Cousins. For all we know, they did.

  14. Brees is set for life in New Orleans. Regardless of Jacksonville, Denver, or whatever team that would have paid a king’s ransom, he knows the system (in New Orleans)and has had huge success with Payton to have to regress in a system that didn’t fit his skill set. Sometimes free agency is a gamble you don’t want.

  15. Im not sure why people justbassume its plug and play? Brees may very well signed with the vikings and not meshed properly. Not sure why so many forget that football is a TEAM game and thr TOTAL package is what matters. Rams allstar D looks houseleague these days and NOT promed for a superbowl run. #chemistrymatters

  16. Technically never became FA as he signed his current extension on the last day of his contract. And Vikings did apparently call to inquire whether Brees would be available but were told he was still negotiating with the team and expected to re-sign.

  17. omniscient48 says:
    November 22, 2018 at 4:14 am
    The most amazing thing is that Brees seems to play about 10 years younger than Brady.
    Brees is having a great year, but he and the Saints don’t always have great years like Brady and indeed in recent years Saints have struggled. Indeed 2014-2016 they were below .500 while Brady lead the Pats to 2 SB victories. As for this year Brady has been without Edelman early, Gronk late, Michel too, working in new guys and without some of his o-line (hence sacked a lot more than Brees). And Brady plays outdoors. Yet despite all that he’s currently only 200yds behind Brees.

  18. The Chargers had Brees and decided to draft Manning (and trade him to the Giants for Rivers) after Brees kinda sucked in 2003 and lost his job to Doug Flutie for a while. The shoulder injury sealed the deal over Brees Vs. Rivers. They probably would have done the same thing even without the injury.

  19. I don’t think Brees cares about money. Until recently, he was driving a Suzuki jeep-thing. Sure, he’s gotten a Lexus SUV for Brittany and sends his kids to the same private school where Peyton and Eli went to. His home is nice but doesn’t stand out from the other houses in his neighborhood. It’s not like one of LeBron James 20,000 sq. ft. homes. I walked to his house to take a picture and actually took a picture of the wrong house before realizing that his house was the one with the fleur-de-lis symbol on the metal fence. He is a New Orleans citizen until the day he retires. Hopefully, his coach is too.

  20. Years ago, Brees was a cast off free agent as well. San Diego didn’t want him. Miami didn’t want him. New Orleans wanted him. I would say it worked out pretty well. If Brees had not come to NOLA, would his stats be what they are now? Probably not. Oh, and Boiler Up!

  21. Money isn’t the only thing to consider. He has a wife and kids who are entrenched in New Orleans. Would it have been fair to them to leave to go play for another team for probably no more than 2 or 3 more years? Even if he would have gotten more money, I think he’s making enough to survive.

  22. I don’t think you are making a good connection. Brees is a HOF Qb. Brees is still playing at a very high level. But it is fair to assume that he would only be as good as he is in New Orleans. Imagine what Dan Marino would have looked like if in 1994 Buddy Ryan took over the Cardinals and (although not possible) signed Marino? Arizona had a good defense such as Minnesota or Denver does this year or last and Marino is a HOF Qb too. Some how I just don’t see how he would have been any better there then in Miami. My evidence? Two years later Don Shula retired and Jimmy Johnson came to Miami and Marino was never the same. Brees stayed in New Orleans because Brees knows he can be a high caliber top tier NFL Qb in New Orleans at this stage of his career.

  23. stipez says:
    November 22, 2018 at 8:14 am
    If I was successful despite my own incompetence, did I Bortles?
    No you just had very rich parents.

  24. The true MVP is Dr. Andrews in Birmingham who put Brees’ shoulder back together. It is amazing Brees has played 12 seasons after the surgery with no other problem to the shoulder.

  25. He’s not saying Brees definitely would have taken the higher offer elsewhere. He’s saying teams should have tried. 3/$90 fully guaranteed might have had him considering it. And cap space? We’re talking about cap space? Cap space can be created out of thin air. Restructuring other deals can get you cap space. How much more cap space would the Vikes need over what they have Cousins? And wouldn’t Brees be worth it?

    But I do think teams didn’t even bother because they knew it would take a long to pry him from NO & it hey weren’t sure how much he had left.

  26. Reminder: Brees has been in the same system with the same coach for 10 years. Foolhardy to think he’d have the same success elsewhere.

  27. The Raiders QB was Aaron Brooks. I remember thinking it was two horse raise for brooks (Dolphins & Saints), and we should be in it.

    He was coming off shoulder surgery though, that he was rehabbing from, that lost him a lot of suitors.

  28. Brees has earned close to $180MM prior to 2018. He doesn’t need the money, he wants to play where he will enjoy it the most. Maybe he doesn’t want to go to Minnesota.
    Jacksonville? Not a chance.

  29. Brees signed his Contract March 13, 2018. The day before Free agency began. So exactly how was he a free agent?

  30. Boredom on a Thursday morning. I guarantee other teams at least contacted his agent to gauge interest. Just because they didn’t make it public doesn’t mean they didn’t at least put in a call. Brees was never leaving NO. Period.

  31. frodoftw7 says:
    November 22, 2018 at 1:28 am
    I’d love to see him kick the living snot out of the Patriots in the Superbowl.

    And we New England Patriot fans would love to see Super Bowl #11 (TB12’s ninth) and yet another all night Super Bowl party. Thanks.

  32. This message goes out to the Phins fans. First YOU had the choice of a broken down Culpepper over Brees. Then the 2nd screw up was not taking Matty Ice #1 pick instead of a OL in the draft. You have managed to hire idiots for Coaches and GM’s. Either one of them you might be up their with the Pats. Come on PALS just say it again AFC East Champions again.

  33. Brees is one of the greatest ever, but comparisons to Brady quoting yards and completion% are not valid. Most QB numbers go down when playing in sub zero windy conditions. Brady plays a minimum of 10 games a year in outdoor stadiums in the northeast. Brees plays a minimum of 11 games a year in a dome or southern climate. Favre, Jim Kelly, Rodgers and Brady have played under less favorable conditions.

  34. Holding can be called every play it would have got called anywhere else just wait until the league falls out of love with him. They will let a team almost kill him the way the saints and the league tried to kill Brett Favre always remember your hot until they decide you aint

  35. Living in the Twin Cities, it was priceless following local media and fans speculating on what it would take to get Drew here.

    Never was going to happen. I have friends that asked me how worried I was about Drew possibly coming to the Vikes; I told them not worried at all.

    The Saints took a chance on Drew, and he has become an integral part of the community.


  36. It’s a lot warmer in New Orleans. And I’m talking about the fans.
    He loves the city and the city loves him back.
    Sure wish he was around as qb when I lived there back late 80s. Lol

  37. Only Brees was talking about resigning with the Saints. The only way he leaves if they low balled him terribly.

  38. omniscient48 says:
    November 22, 2018 at 4:14 am
    The most amazing thing is that Brees seems to play about 10 years younger than Brady.

    127 18 Rate This

    I missed the part where Brees threw for 971 yards in the last 2 Super Bowls.

    At 10 years younger Brees should easily throw for 500 in this years game, right?

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