Well here we are, once again. For the 2nd time in almost 6 years, fans of the New Orleans Saints are panic-stricken over the fact that their beloved team still hasn't reached a new contract agreement with franchise QB and future NFL Hall of Famer Drew Brees.
The sad part of it is how quickly those same Saints fans allow outsiders (such as members of the national media and supporters from other fan-bases from across the NFL) to get them all "worked up" into a state of frenzy, over something that is almost certain NOT to happen: which is for the living legend to leave the team and New Orleans, for another NFL franchise in 2018 Free Agency.
Now while I can't completely "guarantee" that Brees won't leave, I'm supremely confident in saying that you can go ahead and relax, Saints fans — because Drew Brees isn't going anywhere except NOLA.
Now grant it, Saints fans' concerns are certainly understandable; given the fact that if an agreement on a new deal isn’t in place by this Wednesday (just a little more than over 48 hours from now) at 4 p.m. Eastern time, Brees will become an unrestricted Free Agent.
But the real "deadline" so to speak, might actually be even sooner (as in a few more hours from now), when the NFL’s legal tampering window opens later on this afternoon at 4 p.m. ET.
Make no mistake: teams such as the New York Jets, the Buffalo Bills, the Denver Broncos and even the Minnesota Vikings — the team that ended both Brees and the Saints' hopes of going to the Super Bowl after beating them in the Divisional Playoffs just a couple of months ago — would love to throw a huge wad of cash at the doorstep of his house in uptown NOLA, with the hope of luring him away from the Crescent City.
As unlikely as it seems that Brees would actually consider going to Cleveland or Buffalo, you could hardly blame them for at least trying to make him an offer.
But as it's been noted time and time again, Brees has said (and he's repeated this on several occasions) that he wants to finish his career in the Black and Gold.
And if nothing else: we should take Brees at his word.
However, that hasn't eased the trepidation that many Who Dats are feeling at the moment, and it's understandable that they all are worried that Brees being human like the rest of us, might not be able to resist the temptation of the almighty dollar.
As the old saying goes: "money talks and bullsh*t walks".
Even if it's just for a brief moment, let's consider the possibility that one of those offers is intriguing enough to Brees that he gives it some serious consideration.
What would it take to make Drew Brees go back on his word and leave anyway?
What if for example, John Elway and the Denver Broncos come calling, having potentially missed out on the "Kirk Cousins sweepstakes"?
Elway famously signed another legendary QB (Peyton Manning) to come and play for Denver just a few short years ago, and it paid off with a Super Bowl win. There's nothing that would prevent him from trying to pull it off a 2nd time.
But how much do you offer him?
That's where the tricky part comes in, and it's likely one of the main reasons why a new deal hasn't been reached up to this very point: which is how to go about determining Brees' value on the current NFL QB market in 2018.
With San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo just getting a record-breaking $27.5 million per year average deal last month, the entire pay scale for a starting-caliber NFL quarterback (much less an "elite" QB like Brees) has been completely "thrown out of wack".
And then of course, there's Brees' age. While he's still playing at a very high level at age 39, the assumption is that he likely only has a few "good" seasons left before a physical decline becomes imminent.
In fact, most NFL QB's are already done playing football at his age.
However, Brees just set the all-time NFL record for completion percentage in a season last year at 72%; and he topped 4,000 passing yards for the 12th consecutive year in a row — something no other player in the League's entire 97-year history has done in more than 8 consecutive seasons.
So the long-expected "decline" hasn't happened yet, even further complicating the whole process.
Nevertheless, the Saints and GM Mickey Loomis have to throw "caution to the wind", since they MUST be prepared for when Brees' time as an elite-caliber player at the QB position, finally does reach its inevitable conclusion.
And no matter when that is, the Saints are already "in the hole" for $18 million worth of dead money; which is scheduled to officially hit the team's financial books once Brees departs for good (it can be spread out incrementally over the course of a few years, but they'll STILL be putting out that amount in total).
Translation: it won't be exactly cheap to re-sign Brees, and no matter if he stays or actually decides to leave, the Saints still will have to account for that dead money at some time further down the line.
But at this point, the Saints aren't left with many options, because SOMEBODY has to play QB.
And if you're Loomis, then you're damn sure better off with Brees under center than you are with taking a chance on any of the other available Free Agent QB's besides Cousins, or even worse: putting your faith in back-up QB's Chase Daniel (who's also a Free Agent) or Taysom Hill.
Sure they can always draft one, and it's more than possible that New Orleans will select any one of several highly-rated prospects in what some consider to be the strongest QB Draft Class in many years.
But that QB will have to learn the Saints system and make the adjustment from college to the pro level, something that usually takes a few years to come to full fruition.
So it goes without saying WHY Saints fans are so anxious this morning.
Alas, there isn't anything you should be worried about, and I personally believe that it all comes down to this very simple fact:
Which is that Drew Brees and his family LOVE the city of New Orleans, the surrounding region, and all of the folks that live there.
All 4 of Brees' children have been born (and raised so far) in New Orleans. All three of his sons attend elementary school in uptown NOLA, and daughter Rylen will be joining them in the not-too-distant future.
Additionally, there are all of the business investments that Brees (and wife Brittany) has made within the NOLA community, and you also have to take into account his bond and "connection" to the city that was formed over a decade ago after he got to see the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina, after originally signing with the Saints back in 2006.
In the past decade plus, Drew Brees and his family have become as much a part of New Orleans, as New Orleans has become of him.
It's the place that they now consider "home" — not in Austin, Texas (where Brees himself was born and raised), not northern Indiana (where Brees played college ball at Purdue University), and not in San Diego (where he first began his NFL career after being drafted by the Chargers, who are now in Los Angeles),
And if you happen to be raising a family with small children, then you already know how important it is for them to have some stability in their lives.
Legendary and former Saints QB Archie Manning and his wife Olivia did the same thing over 45 years ago when they moved to NOLA from Mississippi, and they never left; and are still residing there to this very day.
Sons Cooper, Peyton, and Eli Manning (perhaps you've heard of them) are all New Orleans natives, and their family's own love and affection for the city and its surrounding region is well-documented.
Bottom line: there isn't ANY amount of money that should persuade Brees to walk back his previous statements or to go back on his word.
If Drew Brees is the man that I think he is — a man of principle and devotion — then I'm certain a deal will be struck within the next 48 hours, that will keep him in playing in New Orleans for a few more seasons, and perhaps living there for a whole lot longer.
Maybe we'll even see sons Baylen, Bowen, and Callen on the New Orleans-area high school football highlights in a few years from now, just as Manning's sons were back during the 1990's.
When all is said and done, I believe it's Brees' love for the place that he's "put down roots", that will ultimately win out in the end.