You might forgive the New Orleans Saints if they’ve pushed contract negotiations with star QB Drew Brees to the back burner this offseason. They’ve kind of been busy dealing with other issues. And they already franchised Brees in early March, so for all intents and purposes his situation is at least locked up for one season.
But that’s not good enough for Brees. Michael Smith at ProFootballTalk reports that Brees is unhappy with the pace of negotiations, noting that he believes his new contract should be a top priority for the team, in order to provide some stability to what has suddenly become an embattled franchise.
“This is a big time for our team, especially when you look at what’s happened in this offseason, missing our head coach, Sean Payton,” Brees said. “There should be a sense of urgency and yet it seems like there’s not… We’ve reached out on a number of occasions and at times I’ve been frustrated by the lack of response…”
It’s not hard to understand Brees’ point here. He has been arguably the best quarterback in the NFL over the last five years. He brought a Super Bowl to New Orleans, and has had the Saints in contention in just about every season since arriving from San Diego. And yet, he just finished an almost comically team-friendly 6y/$60M contract, one that had him outside the Top-5 earners among QBs in the NFL (by yearly average).
If he signs his franchise tender, Brees will vault to the second highest paid QB in 2012, behind Peyton Manning’s shiny new $96M deal in Denver. (Just for giggles… go see who #40 is on that list. Right between Caleb Hanie and Jake Locker…)
Peyton Manning… coming off of a lost year and multiple neck surgeries. Still making more than Brees, who just set the single season passing yardage record, and hasn’t had an extended injury in quite a while.
So it’s easy to see why Brees is upset. It looks more and more like this situation will drag well into the summer, and possibly into training camp, before there is any type of resolution.