Drew Brees and the Saints decided to put any long-term contract talks on hold until after the 2011 season, but that doesn't mean a new deal for Brees isn't still kicking it as the large, pink elephant in the corner of the room.
On Sunday, CBS Sports Charley Casserly reported that the two sides are still working on a deal, but if they can't reach one before free agency begins, the Saints will place the franchise tag on Brees, and that Brees will probably not report if/when that happens.
"He's a free agent at the end of this year and both sides would like to get a long-term deal done," Casserly reported on The NFL Today. "The Saints told me if one is not done by the start of free agency, they'll franchise him. I estimate that number will be between $14-15 million. The target for Brees? The Peyton Manning contract -- $18 million a year, but more importantly, $23.4 million over the first three years.
"If a long-term deal is not done, I would not be surprised if Brees does not show up for offseason and even training camp."
Brees, as we've previously noted, probably would've slotted somewhere between Manning/Tom Brady and Michael Vick when it comes to a long-term deal and the amount he'd make annually. That's if, of course, the Saints were negotiating with Brees before this season.
Instead New Orleans will now be trading numbers with Brees' agent Tom Condon as Brees comes off a season in which he broke Dan Marino's record for most passing yards in a single season (he's just 300-some yards shy).
That stands to make things expensive for the Saints, and if the team goes deep into the postseason this year, things won't get any cheaper. And it won't exactly the public relations nightmare they deal with if Brees holds out any easier either.
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