Looking at Drew Brees’ Upcoming Contract Negotiation

Over at the Sporting News this week I took a look at Drew Brees’ upcoming contract talks with the Saints. Brees arguably has the most leverage ever in a negotiation with a massive franchise tag number virtually blocking the Saints from keeping him from hitting free agency. This leads to a very difficult decision for the Saints as  to how to approach this contract.


Read the full article at the Sporting News

  • McGeorge

    1. The Saints mismanaged the cap and now have to pay the price.
    2. Brees is still very good, but he’s old (he’ll be 38 at the end of the season). He can decline quickly, or just fade over the next few years.
    3. The Saints are a weak team, and need to rebuild. Having Brees on the team improves their record, but doesn’t help in the long run. But letting him walk gives them a compensatory 3rd round pick.
    4. Had the Saints been forward looking, in addition to not mismanaging the cap, they could have traded Brees for future draft pick.

    Even if they keep Brees, they need to start drafting QBs, since after this season Brees likely only has a couple more left.

    • Ghoston

      You only get the compensation pick if you sign less free agents than you have leave. The Saints are anout 40 mil under in 2017. So I don’t see them getting a pick since they will be active in free agency and they are not trading him this year they are stuck with his services.

      • McGeorge

        1. I think that compensatory picks are not lost if the free agents are signed after a certain date, maybe June 1st?

        2. If the Saints are rebuilding, and letting Brees go due to salary problems, why would they go heavy into free agency? It’s not like an extra free agent will get them to the playoffs.

        3. They can spend some on free agents, and still qualify for a compensatory draft pick, if the salary differential remains high enough.

        The Saints need to face reality and focus on rebuilding. Forgo pricey free agents.

  • NW86

    Good article, and you make good points. A couple notes though.

    1. In the table, you didn’t account for the $10M in proration that would still be there from the old contract. His cap hit would be $19.2M, not $9.2M.
    2. While their cap is tight, they do still have the option of not extending him. They could restructure Byrd again instead to free up some space to function this year.
    3. Not doing an extension is dangerous for Brees. If he plays well, his still good but old – it’s not like his value would go up any higher than it is now. But if he gets injured or has a bad year, he will suddenly be 38 year old damaged goods. Nobody will pay much for that in 2017. This is what the Saints need to use as leverage.

    • McGeorge

      Not doing an extension for Brees can also be very lucrative for him.

      Imaging Brees as a free agent on a short term contract.
      A QB needy team (Browns, Jets) might be interested in a 2-3 year contract.

      Brees could ask for a lot, and since it would be for just 2-3 years, a team may like that.
      What if he asked for 2 years 25MM/year? With incentives for play off success, pushing his salary to 30MM for a super bowl win.
      Maybe Denver would consider that in 2017 if Paxton Lynch doesn’t pan out.

    • ANDY TAYLOR

      You are spot on NW86…only option is to do no extension

  • Ghoston

    It’s not guaranteed that they will get a 3rd rnd pick if they lose him. That is not a smart statement to say. They might get nothing

    • McGeorge

      If Brees leaves, he will undoubtably sign a high paying contract. That will give them a 3rd round pick, unless they sign many free agents.
      I suppose it’s possible they wont get a compensatory pick, but in reality, they will.

      • Ghoston

        Jets got nothing for losing Harrison.and they had no cap room and signed more free agents than they lost. Saints will be 40 MIL under if they lose brees they will try like hell in free agency since this regime is on its last legs. They will resign brees back anyways but a 3rd round pick won’t happen cause of the regime they currently have in place and the cap space to use.

        • McGeorge

          The Jets won’t get anything for losing Harrison because they signed another free agent. Ozzie Newsome of the Ravens doesn’t do that. He waits until after the cut off date (June 1st?) when free agent signing don’t cost against free agent losses.

          If the Saints are 40 million under the cap, they can resign their own players. Or they can carry over unused cap money. IF Brees is signed for 25MM, they can sign free agents for say 15MM, resign some of their own players, and carry over some cap space.
          They can do it if they are forward thinking and acknowledge they must rebuild.

          The Saints GM might not do this, he mismanaged the cap for years, so it’s unlikely he’ll do the right thing now.

          If Brees leaves, the Saints are a terrible team, why spend cap money of free agents. Better to roll it forward and draft better and then pay the younger players. Spending on free agents and going 5-13 instead of 4-12 makes no sense.

          • Ghoston

            Payton and Loomis won’t go through a rebuild. They would be fired. That garbage doesn’t want to here we are rebuilding so they are stuck in that 7-9 to 9-7 range. And they will resign brees trying to tank in football hoping for a b in the draft is not a smart decision. And who cares about rollover only junk teams like the bucs and jags how is that working for them.

          • McGeorge

            Tanking in football is an EXCELLENT decision.
            Look at the Cleveland Browns this year.
            If you tank, you can get a lot of valuable picks, and even trade those for yet more valuable picks.
            You still have to draft well, and need a franchise QB.

            So the solution is to tank for 2 years.
            The first to gain picks, and put players in place.
            The second year you draft a (hopefully) franchise QB, who will have some good players on the team from all those draft picks you acquired.

            What alternative do the Saints have other than to rebuild? To go 7-9? And when Brees retires, then what? Then they go 3-13 and get fired?

            Cap Rollover is a smart long term strategy for rebuilding teams. Teams that are already strong and go far in the playoffs (like the Patriots) instead invest in the current team. But a rebuilding team (like Tampa) doesn’t need one extra win from an expensive free agent. Better to save up to pay Winston and other players, assuming they draft well.

            Spending a lot of money in free agency gets you what? Maybe a half win or one extra win? Unless you are a playoff team, thats worth nothing.
            But if you save that 10+MM, year after year for a few years, and draft well, then you have extra money to help you keep your good young players.

            Its like being single and having the choice of renting a 1 bedroom apartment or a two bedroom apartment. Better to save the money for when you need a bigger apartment later in life.

          • Ghoston

            Peyton and Loomis won’t tank. With the ownership up in the air. Cleveland can tank cause of a new gm and coach in year one. Peyton and loomis do that stuff they will get canned especially if benson dies, which sadly is coming close.

            Patriots Ravens dallas washington cheifs steelers zona saints chargers Vikings Carolina Atlanta Broncos lions houston bills Rams never use caprollover they are always up against the cap every year.

            Bengals Green Bay don’t believe in free agency

            Only teams that use the rollover are the dummies of football
            Cleveland Dolphins jets jags indy Titans raiders tampa

            Giants Eagles Chicago seattle have all been in between

            49ers are clearly tanking with new coach

          • McGeorge

            The strong teams will use their cap money because they are in win now mode. They are strong, and an incremental addition can give them a chance at a super bowl.

            Weak teams should consider cap carry over. Some of the teams you mention as to not using cap carry over are weak, and poorly run, and would benefit from saving money and not signing as many free agents.

  • eddiea

    With Brees being so Pro Union,he’ll want the more SB $,Avg Sal.,3 yr cash flow. So it’s always been wondered why no NFL Player had a Fully Guarranteed Contract,so Brees might be the 1st even though at his age he shouldn’t, most likely at 3 yrs $67M-$70M. That covers all the pay benchmarks. It would be wrong,but so is comparing Bradys contracts to other QBs/players,since he will do what’s right for himself not other players (current/future).

    • McGeorge

      Why would a team guarantee a QB who will be 38 at the end of the season 67-70MM?
      Brees will turn 39 his first year with the team.
      Older players can decline quickly, and being saddled with an additional 45MM in guarantees for 2 years of less effective play harms a team.

      If Brees was 33, I can easily see a team guaranteeing him a lot, but not at his current age.