Brady has made it clear that he’ll play in 2020. Within the next two months, we’ll find out where. Brees has said nothing about whether he’ll play in 2020.
Appearing on ESPN over the weekend, Saints coach Sean Payton said he believes Brees will continue to play. Also over the weekend, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Brees has heard from at least one TV network (not ESPN) about transitioning to broadcasting in 2020.
“Drew has not spoken with them or anyone about any new opportunities,” an unnamed source close to Brees told ESPN. “Until such time as a decision is made about next season, he will not be engaging in any conversations regarding or considering any new opportunities.”
If Brees decides he wants to play and to remain with the Saints, the Saints will have a decision to make. With $21.3 million already on the cap books for Brees in 2020, the dead money coupled with new money would create the kind of commitment that could make it hard to keep Teddy Bridgewater and/or Taysom Hill, if the Saints retain Brees. Bridgewater will become an unrestricted free agent in March, and Hill is eligible for restricted free agency. While the Saints could easily carry the highest RFA tender for Hill (which will be in the range of $6 million) and get value for it, any other team that agrees with Payton’s comparison of Hill to Steve Young could make Hill an offer that the Saints wouldn’t be able to match, if the team is willing to pay him $20 million or more per year.
Against the Vikings in the wild-card round, Hill was the best player on the field, for either team. Passing, rushing, and receiving, Hill did it all — even while participating in 41 percent of the offensive snaps. What if someone decides to let him be a full-time quarterback, and to pay him accordingly?
That possibility could make the Saints decide whether to move on from Brees, or to get Hill locked up to a bridge deal that pays something like $10 million per year before he gets a whiff of his market value.
While the first step in the process hinges on Brees, it’s possible that he chooses to keep playing and the Saints choose to turn the page to Taysom Hill, or possibly to a Hill-Bridgewater combination. However it plays out, the Saints will need to make decisions fairly soon. Which means that Brees’ decision will need to come sooner than later.