METAIRIE, La. -- Drew Brees got the scoop early.
“It was crystal clear. I’m not wanting to coach anywhere else or anyone else right now,” is what Payton said he had told Brees on Monday.
The feeling is mutual.
Brees almost echoed Payton’s comment exactly at one point Wednesday night as Brees told WWL Radio, “Obviously I’m very excited that he’s back.”
“Listen, I plan on playing in New Orleans as long as my career goes, and I hope that that’s at least a few more years, quite a bit longer,” he said. “I don’t plan on playing anywhere else, I don’t plan on playing for any other coach.”
Brees, who turns 37 later this month, has just one year left on his contract, with a whopping salary-cap cost of $30 million ($20 million in salary and bonuses, $10 million in pro-rated cap costs from past bonuses he already received).
“I know my cap number is really high next year,” Brees acknowledged.
But he said that was a result of past bonuses, including one that he agreed to during the 2014 season to help create some short-term cap relief for the Saints.
“I’m very confident that as things come together, everything will work out the way it’s supposed to,” Brees said.
Brees said Monday that he would be amenable if the Saints approached him about a contract extension -- which could lock him beyond this season and also create some short-term cap relief in the process.
Brees did say that any such talks would take place behind closed doors.
As for the behind-closed-doors talks that ultimately led to Payton staying, Brees had admitted in recent days that he didn’t know for sure what would happen. But he told WWL Radio, “Honestly I had a good feeling about it.”
“I just know the vision that’s been laid out, from the entire time that we’ve been here, but especially from last year to this year,” Brees said of the Saints’ efforts to improve the culture in the locker room by overhauling much of the roster. “Last year’s 7-9 team was completely different than this year’s 7-9 team. I think we all finished last season kind of depressed. Extremely disappointed with the way that season ended, but also feeling like this team wasn’t where it needed to be, the camaraderie, the character, the leadership. And a lot of changes were made last offseason.
“While we were still maybe a bit young this year and maybe made some mistakes and lost some games we shouldn’t have, I think we all ended the season very excited about our future.”
When asked to name any specific young players he is excited about, Brees first mentioned cornerback Delvin Breaux, who had a terrific debut season after a remarkable comeback from a broken neck in high school nine years earlier.