|GM Mickey Loomis reportely thinks Brees is a 'very good' quarterback. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com/US PRESSWIRE)|
By Ryan Wilson
We're 12 days away from free agency, and the Saints and franchise quarterback Drew Brees are "roughly $5 million a year apart" on a new contract, according to Yahoo.com's Jason Cole.
CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman said as much Wednesday, adding that the differences could lead New Orleans to franchise Brees. It's an odd way to treat the guy primarily responsible for saving the organization in post-Katrina New Orleans. The same guy, by the way, who is two months removed from breaking Dan Marino's single-season passing record, and two years removed from leading the Saints to a Super Bowl.
All this prompted Freeman to ask: "What the hell are the Saints doing?"
Fair question. "I've said this before," Freeman continued. "There are certain players, only a handful, where you open the vault and roll out the cash. You give them a blank check. Brees is one of those players. Franchising Brees is going to anger him, no question. Players despise the tag because it limits their earning potential. So you've ticked off your best player. For what? Why?"
Because, in an inexplicable turn of events, the Saints, according to Cole, are "privately trying to sell itself on the notion that Brees is simply a 'very good' quarterback."
Oh my. A quick refresher: between 1967 and 2005 (the year before Brees arrived), New Orleans made the playoffs a grand total of five times. In 38 years. They've been to the postseason three times since, including one Lombardi Trophy.
Cole writes Thursday that the "very good" quarterback meme "was the word coming out of the NFL scouting combine this past week, when Saints general manager Mickey Loomis tried to define Brees as 'very good' when the quarterback was called “great,” according to three league sources. All three sources were asking Loomis why it was taking so long to sign Brees to a contract extension. Loomis’ answer spoke volumes."
Cole thinks Loomis' foot-dragging will necessitate owner Tom Benson stepping in to fix things. Fortunately, he remembers what the pre-Brees Saints were like.
“Benson knows where this team was 15 years ago and he sees where it is now. He has to make the call. Mickey is not going to do it," a league insider told Cole.
This also means that the team can't move forward with Marques Colston or Carl Nicks, two important pieces to New Orleans' high-powered offense. It's likely that Colston will hit free agency while the team will franchise Nicks (not surprisingly, he's against it), but this assumes that a Brees deal gets done before March 5 (the last day a team can use the franchise tag).
The latest news coupled with the Colston/Nicks situation prompted CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco to tweet this:
Just a thought: If Drew Brees really is Mr. New Orleans, shouldn't he get a long-term deal done so others can get signed?
3/1/12 8:03 PM
Having said that, If Brees is smart he won't do it.
3/1/12 8:03 PM
Whatever happens, the Saints have to sign Brees. Because without him, this team will be our early favorites for the Matt Barkley sweepstakes. (Hey, it worked for the Colts!) By the way: if Brees is "very good," what does that make backup Chase Daniel?
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