Check out this Insider post by long-time NFL general manager Bill Polian.
In strong detail, he lays out a four-point plan on how the New Orleans Saints should move forward after the initial wave of punishments for their bounty program (more discipline could come for players in the form of suspensions or fines). Polian talks about how important it is to quickly put someone into the place of coach Sean Payton for a year, how the Saints might have to move on without defensive leader Jonathan Vilma because he could be suspended and how the Saints need to come up with a strong plan for the draft, even though they don’t have picks in the first or second round (the second-round pick was forfeited as part of the punishment and the first-round pick was traded last year as the Saints moved up to draft Mark Ingram).
All of those are important, but Polian also talks about something else that’s even more significant. He says it’s crucial that the Saints sign quarterback Drew Brees to a long-term contract extension immediately. Brees currently is carrying the franchise tag. He hasn’t signed his tender and, if something doesn’t happen soon, Brees could stay away from the offseason program that starts in mid-April.
“With all of the instability now surrounding this franchise, it is imperative to lock up the player who acts as its cornerstone,’’ Polian wrote.
Polian said the Saints need Brees in the offseason program “to steady the team and help shoulder the leadership burden’’.
I couldn’t agree more with Polian. In fact, the Saints should have had Brees signed to a long-term deal long before now. That hasn’t happened and it has to change.
The best thing the Saints can do right now to start the healing process is to make Brees happy and let him come in and carry the franchise through some very challenging times.