Saints appreciate Brees, but enough to pay $20M?

Ed Daniels    Everywhere I go – and I mean everywhere – I am asked the same question: Will the Saints sign Drew?
    My reply? Of course, they will.
    The odds are pretty high that at some point in the very near future, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints will sign a long-term deal that pays Brees in the neighborhood of $20 million per season.
    If the two sides can’t agree on a contract extension, Brees likely will play under the one-year franchise tender for quarterbacks, somewhere around $16 million per season.
    Brees recently made the rounds to national media, expressing his desire for a long-term deal, saying that he didn’t want to play under the franchise tag again. In 2005, Brees did so in San Diego and suffered an injury to his right shoulder that jeopardized his career.
    Maybe, with a series of media visits, Brees was trying to turn the heat up on the Saints.
    My take? I simply do not believe that the New Orleans Saints are trying to low-ball Brees.
    It makes no sense or cents for the Saints to do such a thing. With Brees at quarterback, the Saints won the Super Bowl and have sold out the Superdome for every game since Brees arrived in 2006.
    No coach on the planet appreciates Brees more than Saints head coach Sean Payton. Payton and Brees are tied at the hip. It is quite possible that when Brees departs the Saints, Sean Payton will also go.
    The monopoly money thrown at Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson ($60 million guaranteed) and Texans-turned-Bills defensive end Mario Williams ($50 million guaranteed) will almost certainly drive up the price for Brees.
    So, we ask. Is Drew Brees worth that much more money per season than Tom Brady?
    In September 2010, Brady agreed to a four-year contract extension that pays him an average of $18 million per season. The guaranteed money was $48.5 million.
    A brief synopsis of Brady’s resume: He just appeared in his fifth Super Bowl as a starting quarterback. Brady has won three Super Bowl titles with the Patriots. In 2007, he quarterbacked New England to the only unbeaten regular season since the NFL went to 16 games.
    Among quarterbacks, Brady is the gold standard. With apologies to Brees and to Peyton Manning (the only four-time Most Valuable Player in NFL history), Tom Brady is the chalk.
    By the time you read this, maybe Brees’ deal is already done. But if he’s really asking for $23 to $24 million per season over the first three years of the deal, it won’t be.
And, the questions will keep coming. When will the Saints sign Drew?
    My reply?  Sometime soon.  Believe Dat.
    Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at edaniels@clarionherald.org.

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