- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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We’re less than a week away from the deadline for franchise quarterback Drew Brees to sign a long-term deal and, as you might expect, the innuendo is heating up.
Chris Mortensen reports that sources said Brees has no plans to sign his $16 million franchise tender and report to training camp if a long-term deal isn’t reached by 4 p.m. ET next week. A holdout would be a nightmare scenario for every New Orleans fan. Same for Brees and the Saints.
Can I see Brees actually playing that kind of hardball when it comes right down to it? Yeah, his competitive streak and pride are part of what make him so good on the field, and I think he’s just stubborn enough to do it, because he’s probably looking at the last contract of his career.
That said, I still highly doubt this will come down to a holdout. In relative terms, there still is a lot of time to get a long-term deal done.
Talks have been going on for months, and both sides have a common goal. According to Mortensen, the Saints have offered a deal that averages $19.25 million a season, while Brees is seeking a contract worth $20.5 million a year.
In the grand scheme of things, that’s not that large a gap. One side can go up or one can go down, or the two can meet in the middle. That’s what negotiations are about, and we really are just getting down to the heavy part.
I’d expect a little more posturing. But sometime before Monday afternoon, I’d expect Brees and the Saints both to be smiling. If they’re not, then what’s already been a bad offseason for the Saints will turn into a full-fledged fiasco.