Drew Brees took time out this past weekend to autograph items ranging from a simple black jersey, to a five-year, $100 million contract handed to him by the New Orleans Saints, the biggest in National Football League history.
The star quarterback visited team headquarters to take a physical and sign the contract that gave him the highest average annual pay of $20 million.
The deal guarantees Brees a whooping $40 million in his first year and $60 million through his first two years. It’s an unprecedented amount of money that will surely affect quarterback contracts in the off seasons and years to come.
The clean-cut and extremely satisfied – and now disgustingly wealthy – Brees said he is eager to rejoin his teammates after a protracted contract holdout, and the bounty scandal that has swirled around the Saints organisation since March.
“It’s been a little surreal just because of the process throughout the offseason, and just how challenging an offseason it’s been for everyone, obviously everyone within the Saints organisation, this city,” Brees said. “It’s just been a crazy offseason and I think we’re all just ready to get back to work and excited that it’s all starting here in a week.”
Is he worth such a huge salary? Well, in 2011, Brees set NFL single-season records with 468 completions, 5,476 yards passing and a 71.2 completion percentage. His prolific passing numbers helped the Saints set an NFL high for total offensive yards in a season with 7,474. Brees’ yards passing record shattered a mark of 5,084 set famously by Dan Marino back in 1984.
He also has been highly active in the community through his Brees Dream foundation, which has sponsored more than $8 million in projects primarily aimed at improving schools and athletic facilities for children, along with supporting the arts and cancer patients.
For all of those reasons, fans like Gerald Hebert, 40, of Slidell, were delighted to share a moment with Brees in the parking lot outside his sandwich shop just hours after the quarterback signed his deal,
“It’s a big relief going into training camp,” Hebert said. “It’s a huge win for the city all the way around. With him being here, it’s one less thing to worry about, especially with a lot of the negativity that’s come up this offseason. It was pretty cool to actually see him and it shows how much interaction he has with the community.”
“I missed the guys, I missed the competition. I’m just excited to get back to work.”