The New Orleans Saints are in the midst of turmoil however Drew Brees has his priority on getting paid.
In particular Brees, 33, wants to be compensated on the same level as Peyton Manning, 36. The new Denver Broncos quarterback inked a five-year, $96 million deal last week and Brees states he is next in line.
“I’d say that this is a very critical period here over the next short while,” Brees said. “What I’m really focused on is continuing to negotiate toward a long-term deal and I really am not going to look too far down the road other than what’s right in front of me.
“I want to make sure that this is done the right way.”
At $19.2 million per year, Manning’s deal is the richest in National Football League history, surpassing his five-year, $90 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts last year. Brees’ negotiations are being handled by the same agent who cut Manning’s deal, which led to Tim Tebow being traded to the New York Jets and joining Mark Sanchez. The Saints previously offered a contract that averages $18.5 million while Brees is demanding $23 million per season.
He states he is not keen to play on a one-year deal.
“I’ve played under the franchise tag before, back in 2005 (with the San Diego Chargers), and that ended with 13 anchors in my right shoulder and a 25 percent chance of playing football again. That didn’t work out too well for me.
“I’ve talked to the Saints about this many times. They definitely know my desire to have a long-term deal and hopefully they want me to have that as well. We will continue discussions and hopefully get a long-term deal done. I’m still hoping we can get something done sooner rather than later. My intent is to sign long term and finish my career in New Orleans. That’s what I’m working wholeheartedly toward.”
The career-threatening injury left Brees with few suitors in free agency. Brees intends to end his career with the Saints.
New Orleans meanwhile are dealing with historic punishment from the NFL’s bounty investigation. Head coach Sean Payton was suspended for one year, the team lost its second round pick in 2012 and 2013 and had to pay $500,000. General manager Mickey Loomis faces an eight-game suspension and a $500,000 fine while former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who orchestrated the programme, has been suspended indefinitely
Brees is in shock over the scandal.
“I am speechless. Sean Payton is a great man, coach, and mentor. The best there is. I need to hear an explanation for this punishment.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated the bounty system had to be punished severely.
“Beyond the clear violations of league rules, and lying to investigators, the bounty programme is squarely contrary to the league’s most important initiatives – enhancing player health and safety and protecting the integrity of the game,” Goodell said.
Several key dates are ahead. First, a $2 million bump in Brees’ salary cap number is due on 20 April. On-field organized team activities begin in mid-May and a long-term deal must be recorded by 16 July.
Brees is heading into his 12th season and seventh with the Saints. He is a four-time All-Pro in addition to being the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLIV, a game the Saints won 31-17 over Manning’s Colts.