For Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the decision is simple: Play for the Saints in 2020, or retire.
On Saturday, the timetable for making the decision became a bit more clear.
“I’m really waiting until football is totally done,” Brees said Saturday from the Pro Bowl, via Amie Just of NOLA.com. “Obviously being here, I’m just very much focused on my family and this opportunity to be around the guys, playing the game.
“Then, I’ll kind of lay low for a little bit, get away and then assess. I kind of have a process in mind. And I’ll give it a month or so.”
Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis has said that the team wants him to continue. The presence of restricted free agent Taysom Hill complicates things, however. Hill, who turns 30 this year, has become a potent weapon on offense, arguably the best player on the field when the Saints lost to the Vikings three weeks ago. The Saints, on one hand, would surely like to keep Brees for as long as they can. On the other hand, they surely don’t want to risk losing Hill to a team that isn’t already paying $20 million or more for a starter.
Would Brees accept a role that is a click or two closer to part time, accepting more and more reps and opportunities for Hill in what would become a sort-of transition year? It’s possible that the Saints both want Brees and want to keep Hill, not simply for cameo appearances and special teams.
The role envisioned for Brees and Hill necessarily will impact the offer the Saints will make for Brees. And with Brees on the record about not playing for another team, the Saints (unlike the Packers in 2008 with Brett Favre or the Colts in 2012 with Peyton Manning or possibly the Patriots in 2020 with Tom Brady) don’t have to worry about Brees balking at a proposed role or compensation package and emerging with a competitor.
So while the decision is simple, the dance could get complicated. Unless the Saints and Brees have the same idea in mind as to how much he’ll make and how much he’ll play, Brees could decide that the time has indeed come to walk away.