A serious question for "die hard" Who Dat fans: exactly how much money should one player be paid for making 409 tackles, 71.5 sacks, 44 passes batted down, forcing 10 fumbles (along with 9 recoveries), getting selected to the Pro Bowl 4 different times, and being the indisputable leader for the team's defense both on the field and inside of the locker room, while becoming a cultural icon within the entire NOLA community as well for the past 8 years?
The likely answer — especially if you consider yourself to be a dedicated and loyal follower of the Black and Gold throughout the years and specifically since that time — is that you'd refer to it as "immeasurable"; and that's exactly what many Saints fans feel this morning after the news initially broke during Saints Mini-Camp Practice yesterday that the franchise had inked 9th year veteran defensive end Cam Jordan to a new 3-year, $52.5 million contract extension.
The new deal essentially allows Jordan to earn upwards to as much as a whopping $74.5 million; if you count it on top of the 5-year, $55 million contract he signed back in June of 2015. For Jordan, who turns age 30 next month (on July 10th), it could very well also be the final contract of his professional / NFL career, and one that would take him into his mid 30's by the end of the 2023 NFL Season.
But that discussion can be had for a later time; because as the playful and loquacious Jordan noted to the local media during his impromptu post-practice news conference, he and the team still have some unfinished business, which is winning the Super Bowl; something that Jordan missed out on since the organization drafted him with the 24th overall selection in the 1st Round of the 2011 NFL Draft — and two years after the Saints won their one and only Super Bowl following the 2009 NFL Season.
“Still gotta win the Super Bowl, though", he said half-jokingly.
But the former University of California star and former All-Pro's tone and demeanor turned much more serious as he explained to reporters at the beginning of the interview session about what the local New Orleans community, the surrounding area and region, and the team's loyal and devoted fan-base have meant to him and his family personally in that same period of time.
“I bike around here, I go from Old Metairie to Uptown,” Jordan said. “I walk across the street with the family, everybody knows me at the grocery store. My familiarity here has been welcomed. At this point, I feel like I am a part of this city."
If Drew Brees is considered the "face" of the Saints franchise, then Jordan clearly has become the "heart and soul" of the organization in his own right. And the fact that Jordan has NEVER missed a single NFL game while wearing a Saints uniform, is a testament to that very fact.
“When you come in and get drafted … you have this vision of grandeur,” Jordan said. “My dad (Steve Jordan) played for the Vikings for 13 years, I always said I wanted to be with the same team for the rest of my career. This gives me an opportunity to extend it for however long it goes."
“I told them from the jump this is where I’m trying to play my (whole) pro career,” Jordan added with a wry smile.
The only question now is whether or not Jordan and the Saints defense can improve even further upon their notable improvement at the end of last year; a 2018 Season that obviously ended in heart-break following the controversial overtime loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game.
Most assuredly, you had better believe that it sure won't be because they lacked the motivation or effort to achieve that lofty but attainable goal in the upcoming months ahead,
And for Jordan himself. winning a World Championship before he eventually retires himself sometime in the next decade, has now undeniably become his primary #1 goal going forward.
"I've always said it's not about being the highest paid player," Jordan said. "I've got personal goals. As embedded as I am to this community, as much as I love this place, as much as my family is at home here, uprooting isn't really an option for me.
“I’ve been able to be a part of all of it — except the Super Bowl.”
If everything goes as he and the team are hoping that it will this upcoming season, they might not have to wait that long; especially if the so-called 'bad breaks" that have worked against them in the last two Playoffs / post-seasons, finally work in their favor.
Make no mistake about it: there will be more Saints that are "superstars", who will be looking to get paid their very own true worth and value to the franchise and are due up next on the list of players to be paid big contracts; specifically starting with WR Michael Thomas first and then eventually RB Alvin Kamara.
But first and foremost: signing Jordan to a new deal to remain in NOLA long-term was basically a required move for the organization; and one that couldn't possibly be assigned a monetary price tag on what Jordan and his family have meant to the team and the community it represents; and not only during the Fall / NFL football season, but for an entire 365 days a year.
Bottom line: Cameron Tyler Jordan's true value to the Saints is honestly immeasurable — and it's definitely been worth every single penny along the way....