Bounty For Brees: Saints Lock Up QB With $100 Million Deal

Drew Brees and the Saints agreed to a five-year contract, the team announced. The contract is reportedly worth $100 million.

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Drew Brees Passes Physical, Officially Signs New Deal

Though it was never truly in doubt, Drew Brees signed his new contract with the New Orleans Saints Sunday after passing his physical, making him the recipient — officially — of the highest annual earnings in NFL history.

Brees and the Saints had lengthy, contentious negotiations, despite the Saints being embroiled in the bounty scandal that's resulted in yearlong suspensions for head coach Sean Payton and linebacker Jonathan Vilma, as well as an eight-game suspension for temporary head coach Joe Vitt.

Brees was at a Jimmy John's franchise he owns in Metaire, La., eating some sandwiches and signing some autographs before he signed his contract when the Associated Press caught up with him to talk about the negotiations:

''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 organization, 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. It's hard to believe.''

[...]

"I talked to coach Vitt all the time. I talked to (backup quarterback) Chase (Daniel) quite a bit,'' Brees said. ''For me, I certainly wanted to keep up on my team and my teammates and make sure everybody was doing OK. Guys were texting me all the time, so I was in constant communication with many guys on the team.''

Brees' five-year contract is worth $100 million.

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Saints Owner Congratulates Drew Brees On His New Contract

New Orleans Saints fans are rejoicing for the first time in a long while over the news Friday that Drew Brees has signed a five-year, $100 million contract with the team. The biggest relief may be in the organization's front office, however, which has dealt with nothing but scandal this offseason.

Saints owner Tom Benson released a statement over Twitter after the deal was announced congratulating not only Brees, but general manager Mickey Loomis and his staff for getting the deal done.

"Congratulations are in order for our organization, our city, Drew and Brittany and certainly for Mickey Loomis and his staff for all of the hard work put in to make this possible," Benson said. "Now we must turn our focus to getting ready for the start of training camp and to keeping with our goal of being the first team in NFL history to host and play in a Super Bowl."

Benson, Loomis, Brees and maybe even Sean Payton somewhere should all sleep a little easier tonight.

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Drew Brees Edges Out Peyton Manning With New Contract

Drew Brees signed a very lucrative five-year, $100 million contract extension with the New Orleans Saints on Friday. In a strange sort of way, the two sides can thank Peyton Manning for making it happen. Manning's five-year, $96 million deal with the Denver Broncos this spring provided a bench mark for Brees' deal.

ESPN's Andrew Brandt, a former player agent and vice president of the Green Bay Packers, explained that Manning's deal will pay him $58 million in guaranteed money, providing he passes a physical before the 2013 season.

Manning will make $18 million in 2012, a far cry from Brees' $40 million this season. Nevertheless, looking at the deals side by side, with a broader view of both, the money lines up pretty well.

Manning's place in the game cannot be argued, but he is 36 and missed all of last season thanks to a series of neck surgeries. Brees is 32. The only start he missed since joining the Saints in 2006 was the final week of the regular season in 2009, when the Saints had home field locked up through the playoffs.

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Drew Brees Deal Is Official: 'Now I Need To Go Earn It'

If you see it on Twitter, it's official:

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints finally agreed to a new contract, just days before Monday's deadline. The Saints will pay Brees a reported $100 million over five years with a guarantee of $40 million in the first year alone. Huge numbers like that mean huge pressure for Brees, who told ESPN he appreciates all the effort to complete the contract.

"I appreciate the diligence and steadfast efforts by both sides to get this deal done," Brees told ESPNs Ed Werder. "I love my organization, team, and the city of New Orleans. Thank you especially to (owners) Gayle and Tom Benson for the opportunity. Now I need to go earn it."

Brees just needs to keep playing like he is in order to earn that much money. He's established himself as one of the three best quarterbacks in the game and comes off a season in which he broke Dan Marino's single-season passing yards record. He did all that on a pedestrian (by NFL standards) contract that paid him only $10 million per season.

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Drew Brees Is Signed And Saints Fans Rejoice

For the first time in a long while, fans of the New Orleans Saints have something to be happy about. Drew Brees, who was somehow not yet under contract after having been issued the franchise tag, agreed to what's been reported as a five-year, $100 million deal. He'll get $40 million in the first year, according to the reports, and $60 million in the first three years. The two sides were reportedly as much as $10 million apart in guaranteed money as recently as this week.

Saints fans are celebrating the news over at SB Nation's Saints blog, Canal Street Chronicles, and reactions range from "wahoooo!!!!" to "Let's get drunk!"

They should be rejoicing because, with a quarterback performing at the level Brees is, you're always going to be considered a Super Bowl contender. He's far and away the most important component of the team and the Saints have now locked him up for five more years.

This has been a miserable offseason for the Saints up to this point. After losing in the playoffs last season, the Saints have seen themselves embroiled in the bounty scandal that left the organization embarrassed and four current and former Saints suspended. On top of that, their general manager was accused of wiretapping the stadium, a story that now seems to have floated away.

Brees' deal won't make the stench of the bounty scandal and resulting suspensions go away, but it sure helps.

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Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints Agree To 5-Year, $100 Million Deal, Per Report

Finally, some good news for the New Orleans Saints. Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported on Friday afternoon that the Saints and six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees have agreed to a five-year, $100 million deal, which makes him the highest paid player in the NFL.

All together, $60 million of the contract is guaranteed. Brees will make an astounding $40 million in the first year of the deal, and a total of $60 million, all of the guaranteed money, in the first three years of the contract. Additional financial details are expected to be revealed.

Earlier in the spring, the Saints tendered Brees a franchise tag offer, setting off a protracted, sometimes tense, back-and-forth between the two sides as Brees angled for a long-term contract. Monday, July 16, was the deadline for signing franchised players to a long-term extension.

Even at 32, Brees' numbers make it clear why he is now the league's highest paid player. He led the NFL with 5,476 passing yards last season, a new record, and 46 touchdowns. For a cool $60 million, the Saints have locked up the foundation of their offense for the next three years, while giving the team some flexibility in the final two years of the deal.

Brees announced the news himself via Twitter:

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Drew Brees 'Very Confident' Saints Deal Gets Done, Despite Monday's Deadline

For some reason, Drew Brees is still "confident" about getting a long-term deal done with the New Orleans Saints, even though the two parties are still reportedly more than $10 million apart in guaranteed money with the deadline to secure a new contract coming on Monday.

Brees, speaking from the ESPY awards this week, insisted he's confident a deal gets done.

"I'm an eternal optimist, so I'm still very confident a deal will get done by Monday," Brees said.

"I think I've been around this league long enough to understand how this works at times. In a lot of cases, it does go down to the wire, and you need a stopping point in order to bring everyone together and make sure it can get done. That stopping point is Monday, so let's hope we get something done by then."

The Associated Press reported the deal will be in the neighborhood of $100 million over five years, but the sticking point is the amount of guaranteed money. Brees will make more than $16 million in 2012 under the franchise tag and over $23 million in 2013 if he's tagged again. That puts his potential two-year earnings with the franchise tag at just under $40 million, which is probably where the guaranteed money conversation is.

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Drew Brees, Saints Are $10 Million Apart In Guaranteed Money, According To Report

The deadline is looming for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints to agree to a long-term contract. Brees, who has not yet signed his franchise tender or showed up for any of the team's offseason workouts, faces a deadline of July 16 to complete a long-term contract with the team or else he must play out the 2012 season under the franchise tag, which will pay him over $16 million.

The two sides are more than $10 million apart in guaranteed money on what The Associated Press calls a five-year contract worth about $100 million. There's no indication whether they'll be able to close the gap before Monday's deadline.

Brees has already successfully argued that if the Saints franchise him again in 2013 it will qualify as the third franchise tag he's received after the Chargers did the same to him back in 2005. That it's the third franchise tag would mean a 144 percent increase in pay, which equals a franchise number in 2013 of more than $23 million.

So two years of franchise tags for Brees would mean roughly $39 million, which is where the guaranteed money conversation should start between the two sides.

According to a report, Brees could skip training camp if he doesn't have a new deal by Monday, but he's not expected to miss regular season games.

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Drew Brees Has No Plans To Report To Saints Training Camp Without New Deal, According To Report

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have yet to agree to a long-term contract and the deadline to do so comes at 4 p.m. ET on Monday, July 16. If the two sides don't have a deal by then, negotiations will have to wait until after the season.

Brees hasn't signed his franchise tender yet and, according to a new report from ESPN's Chris Mortensen, has no plans to report to training camp without a long-term deal. If it wasn't clear before, Brees is putting some pressure on the Saints to get a deal done.

Brees has already said he won't miss the regular season because of the contract dispute, but training camp may still be an option. Without Brees, Chase Daniel has been running the first-team offense at Saints workouts this offseason.

As recently as the last couple of weeks, Brees has said he's confident a long-term deal will get done.

It's not clear exactly what kind of contract terms the two sides are discussing right now, but Brees will be paid more than $16 million in 2012 under the franchise tag and, if the Saints tag him again, more than $23 million in 2013.

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NFLPA Statement On Drew Brees' Franchise Tag Ruling

The NFL Players Association released a statement Tuesday praising the arbitrator who ruled in favor of Drew Brees in his grievance with the New Orleans Saints over his franchise tag designation. Brees argued that he was being franchised for the second time in his career, the first being while he was in San Diego, and that a third franchise tag in 2013 would entitle him to a 144 percent pay increase under the collective bargaining agreement.

In the statement, the NFLPA said that "this ruling will help all Franchise Players in the future," and that hopefully it will help Brees and the Saints as they negotiate a long term deal for the quarterback.

Full statement below:

We are very pleased that that the arbitrator agreed with the NFLPA that the correct interpretation of the "third time" Franchise Player designation in the CBA applies across clubs, and a player's rights will not be unfairly hindered if different clubs designate him as a Franchise Player during his career.

The arbitrator properly rejected the NFL's strained interpretation of the CBA language, which ignored the fact that a Franchise Player designation is a narrow exception to the overall free agency structure. This ruling will help all Franchise Players in the future.

We are very happy that Drew Brees has clarification on this matter, and we hope that it facilitates a successful negotiation for Drew and the Saints.

Brees will be paid $16.3 million this season if he plays under the franchise tag, and would earn $23.5 million next season with the pay bump. The jump in salary could spur the Saints to make a deal this offseason.

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Drew Brees Wins Franchise Tag Grievance

A franchise tag grievance between Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints could bring clarity to Brees' contract negotiations with the team. Brees, who was issued the franchise tag by the Saints this offseason, was also franchised when he was a member of the San Diego Chargers.

An arbitrator ruled in favor of Brees on Tuesday, meaning another franchise tag from the Saints in 2013 would qualify as the third time he's been franchised. That means a third franchise tag would be a 144 percent increase in pay in 2013. Also of significance is that a player can only be franchised three times, which means the Saints could only use it on him one more time in 2013.

Brees believes the Saints could franchise him again in 2013 if the two sides don't reach a long-term deal. His argument, which was presented to arbitrator Stephen Burbank last week, is that because of the Chargers tag seven years ago, the Saints franchising him in 2013 would actually be the third time he's franchised. A third franchise tag means a 144 percent increase in pay from the previous season, which would put Brees' 2013 franchise tag number at approximately $23.5 million.

This affects his current negotiations with the Saints because the minimum Brees can earn if he's franchised next year would be approximately $39 million -- $16.3 million franchise tag in 2012 and a $23.5 million franchise tag in 2013. That puts some parameters around a possible extension for Brees.

We'll see if the franchise tag clarification pushes the two sides closer to a long-term deal before the July 16 deadline.

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Drew Brees, Saints To Meet For Franchise Tag Grievance

The New Orleans Saints have had plenty of issues to deal with during the 2012 offseason. The most pressing issue at the moment is now the Drew Brees contract situation. The July deadline to sign franchise tenders is looming and the superstar quarterback is still in search of a new contract. The two sides have been far apart in recent months as talks regarding a new deal have been halting.

Steve Wyche of NFL.com reports that Brees will be in Philadelphia on Wednesday to argue a franchise tag grievance against the NFL. The current franchise tag the Saints have put on Brees would pay him $16.4 million for the 2012 season. Brees believes that the Saints will also place the franchise tag on him in 2013. That would be the third time in his career Brees would receive the franchise tag, which should result in a 44 percent raise in salary. The Saints will argue that since they have only placed the tag on Brees twice, it should only result in a 20 percent increase. Brees was previously tagged by the San Diego Chargers in 2005.

The outcome of the grievance ruling should set the bar fairly well for any contract negotiations with Brees going forward.

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Drew Brees 'Confident' In Long-Term Deal With Saints

It's tough to tell where the Drew Brees' contract situation falls on the long list of headaches the New Orleans Saints have had to deal with this offseason. Regardless of what's going on behind close doors, Brees at least seems to be confident publicly that a deal will get done. The quarterback spoke with Boomer and Carton on WFAN in New York recently, and indicated that negotiations were progressing with the Saints organization.

"I think we're closer today than we were a month ago," Brees said. "Obviously there is still a lot to be done and a lot to be worked through. I'm still confident we can get a long term deal done and hopefully that happens sooner than later."

Brees did not participate in any Saints offseason workouts as he continues his hold out for a long-term contract extension. In the interview, Brees reiterated that he would like to stay, and even raise his kids in New Orleans. If he isn't signed by July 15, he will have to play the 2012 season under the one-year franchise tag or skip the season altogether.

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Saints Made New Offer To Drew Brees, According To Report

The New Orleans Saints continue to work toward a new contract for superstar quarterback Drew Brees. To date, the team and Brees have been unable to find a comfortable middle ground in their negotiations after the QB was given the franchise tag to prevent him hitting the free agent market in March.

The Associated Press reports that the Saints have made a new offer to Brees, according to an anonymous source close to the situation.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Thursday on condition of anonymity because the team and the quarterback have not publicly discussed the new offer. The person did not provide details about financial changes in the new offer, but added, "as always, there is a lot to get through and no deal is imminent."

Brees has interest in returning to New Orleans but has been unimpressed with the initial contract offers by the Saints. Brees held out of OTAs and this week's minicamp while waiting to work out a new deal. If he is able to come to an agreement with the team over the weekend, he could potentially make the last week of Saints voluntary practices next week.

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Rumors Of Drew Brees, Saints Nearing Contract Aren't True, According To Reports

For some reason rumors were flying on Wednesday and again on Thursday morning that Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints were nearing an agreement on a new contract. That sounds good but it doesn't appear to be accurate. Several other reports have shot down the rumors that the two sides are close.

A radio report in New Orleans said that a new deal could be reached by as early as Friday morning or as late as Monday. The New Orleans Times-Picayune and others disagree with that report.

It's unclear if they were reporting new details from sources or if they were just making predictions based on recent reports that the two sides aren't that far apart. Regardless, sources with knowledge of the negotiations have said there is no indication a deal is that close.

Brees has to sign a long-term contract by July 15 or he'll have to play the 2012 season under the one-year franchise tag (or not play at all). So consider July 15 as the real deadline in this negotiation and it seems unlikely we'd see a deal until sometime closer to that date.

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Drew Brees, Saints Still Apart In Contract Negotiations

The New Orleans Saints have certainly had more than their fair share of issues to work though this offseason. One of the more pressing issues is the contract status of their superstar quarterback, Drew Brees. The team placed their franchise tag on Brees, but he has not signed it as of yet. At last report, the two sides were far apart in coming to an agreement on a new deal.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reports that many of the rumored figures that have been reported on both sides of the story may have been exaggerated.

Widespread reports over the past several months have pegged the Saints' offer at $18 million per year, with Brees' demands north of $21 million. Some accounts have put Brees' expectations at $23 million annually.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, that's not the case. Brees, we're told, has never asked for $21 million. And the Saints are believed to be offering more than $18 million, possibly closer to $19 million than $18 million.

Brees acknowledged that many of the numbers he has seen in reports are "heavily inflated," but no significant progress toward signing a new deal has been made.

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Saints Coach 'Confident' Drew Brees Will Show Up

The New Orleans Saints placed their franchise tag on superstar quarterback Drew Brees during the offseason, in order to prevent Brees from hitting the free agent market. At last word, there has been no progress in attempts at reaching a contract extension and Brees has expressed his frustration at the situation.

Head coach Joe Vitt -- who is filling in for the suspended Sean Payton -- feels "confident" that Brees will attend training camp under the franchise tag. Vitt spoke with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com and had this to say about the situation:

"Listen, I don't think anybody thought this was going to be easy. We talked about the lockout last year, ‘Well, they're going to come back then, they're going to come back here.' I think everybody knew it was going to come back to the 23rd hour and it would get done. There's a lot of revolving pieces Mickey (Loomis) has to get in with the cap and so on and so forth. This is going to get done, and it's going to get done when Drew and Mickey know what's best for our football team and we can move forward."

Brees did not attend OTAs with the Saints, giving backup quarterback Chase Daniel the bulk of the snaps during team activities.

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Drew Brees 'Frustrated' With New Orleans Saints Over Stalled Contract Talks

The New Orleans Saints are not winning the offseason. Quarterback Drew Brees, in an appearance on WWL radio in New Orleans, expressed frustration with how his team is handling negotiations over a contract extension.

Last season's Offensive Player of the Year told Deke Bellavia of WWL that the Saints have been unresponsive to attempts from his side to forge a new deal. Listeners could hear the dismay in Brees' voice. The most telling quote from the interview was this one:

"There should be a sense of urgency and yet it seems like there's not. It's been extremely frustrating for me. The negotiation shouldn't have been this difficult."

You can listen to the complete interview with WWL here.

The Saints used the franchise tag to prevent Brees from slipping away as an unrestricted free agent this year. Since then, the two sides have been working on a contract negotiation, but apparently those talks have not been productive.

The six-time Pro Bowl quarterback and 2009 Super Bowl MVP pushed back on reports that the two sides were close to a deal. He also said that reported salary demands that have appeared in the media "have been pretty heavily inflated."

The two sides have until June 16 to work out a contract extension. New Orleans may be content to let Brees play on a one-year tender since his options are limited to either playing with the Saints or sitting out the season. Either way, the team's handling of Brees' contract is another round of bad publicity they can hardly afford in the wake of the bounty scandal that has head coach Sean Payton and other Saints personnel suspended.

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Drew Brees, Saints Not Any Closer To Longterm Contract

In the wake of Wednesday's announced suspensions of Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita, you would think the New Orleans Saints would do everything they could to create a bit of positive press, big or small. It appears, however, that their other big distraction this offseason -- Drew Brees' contract -- will continue to be a distraction for now, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Brees is skipping offseason workouts until an extension can be hashed out. Last week, general manager Mickey Loomis tried to deflect attention away from eavesdropping accusations by saying that the Saints were focusing their efforts towards making Brees happy. Schefter's tweet indicates that a rather large gulf still exists between both parties.

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Saints GM Mickey Loomis Strongly Denies Eavesdropping Claims; Focus Shifts To NFL Draft, Drew Brees

New Orleans Saints GM Mickey Loomis conducted a press conference hours before Thursday's NFL draft and strongly denied the claims that he eavesdropped on opposing teams, a report originated by ESPN. Loomis said he is leaving open the option of legal action against ESPN due to the report, which was written by John Barr.

Loomis said that he welcomed an investigation into the eavesdropping claims, saying he has never done anything like that in his nearly 30 years in the league.

He also said that he respects NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's decision to suspend him eight games due to the bounty scandal. He is under the same rules as Sean Payton, which prohibit him from speaking with team employees during his suspension.

Loomis said the Saints' focus now needs to turn to the NFL draft and a contract for Drew Brees. He didn't say whether the two sides were close to a deal but he did say he considered Brees a friend and that he hopes they can get something done.

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Just Business: Examining Where The Franchise-Tagged Players Stand

Free agency and the draft dominate the NFL offseason. Contract skirmishes and player holdouts are another part of the story between April and September. Which contract situations are likely to get worse before they get better?

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Drew Brees Not Planning To Attend Starts Of Saints Workouts, According To Report

Although New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson said on Friday that they were close to a longterm deal with Drew Brees, the Saints QB doesn't plan to show up to the start of the offseason workouts on Monday, according to a report from Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Prior to Benson's press conference on Friday, it was reported that Brees would not be signing his franchise tag tender and he would not be participating in the Saints workouts absent a longterm deal. So Benson saying the two sides were "close" did come out of the blue.

The start of the Saints offseason program will be centered on conditioning, so Brees could potentially miss that with few issues. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports the deadline may really come in May.

Most likely, both sides will look to the start of OTAs (organized team activities) in mid-May as a more urgent deadline, when players will actually start practicing on the field.

According to NFL rules, the Saints have until July 15 to sign Brees to a longterm deal or else he will play the 2012 season under the franchise tag.

Brees is the same guy that paid for many of his teammates to gather and conduct player-run practices during the lockout last year. That he may not even be attending a portion of the workouts this season would be a major change.

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Drew Brees, Saints 'Close' To Contract Extension, Tom Benson Says

On the same day ESPN reported that Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints haven't had any contract negotiations recently, the Saints owner, Tom Benson, said that Brees is expected to re-join the Saints next week and the two sides are "close" to a deal.

Benson was conducting a press conference to announce the purchase of the NBA's New Orleans Hornets and the first question was, of course, about his football team. That Benson says the two sides are "close" to a deal is great news for the Saints, who could use some good news this offseason.

Brees' deal is expected to be among the richest deals in NFL history. He signed a six-year contract with the Saints back in 2006 and played through that entire contract. He should move into a new level of pay, possibly in the $20 million per year range.

The Saints offseason program starts on Monday. Even if Brees doesn't sign his franchise tag or come to a longterm agreement, he can still attend the workouts, if he wants to.

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Drew Brees, Saints Haven't Talked Contract Recently; Offseason Program Starts Monday

The New Orleans Saints have had plenty to deal with in the offseason, mostly due to fallout from the "Bountygate" scandal and the subsequent suspension of head coach Sean Payton. But now they have to deal with a new wrinkle. Quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints have made no progress toward keeping their key offensive player in New Orleans past the 2012 season.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, there have been no recent contract talks between the Saints and Brees. As such, it's unlikely that the superstar quarterback will be making it to the Saints offseason practices that begin on Monday.

Brees was given the franchise tag by the Saints, but has not signed it as of yet. He is reportedly very unhappy he was not given a long-term deal before the franchise tag deadline arrived. Until he signs his tender, he will not be authorized to participate in any team activities.

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Drew Brees Not Happy About Franchise Tag And Won't Sign It, According To Report

It sounds like Drew Brees won't be signing his franchise tender from the New Orleans Saints. At least not yet. WIST-AM in New Orleans reports that Brees is "livid" about receiving the franchise tag, and he will not sign it. The franchise tag is restrictive for players and there are no longterm guarantees, which is why they don't like it.

The "livid" part is interesting because the two sides have seemingly taken a few swipes at each other recently in the media. It was leaked anonymously that Saints GM Mickey Loomis only wants to pay Brees as a very good quarterback, and not a great one. And then the next day it was leaked anonymously that the Saints offered Brees a contract last year that would have made him the highest paid player in the game.

Brees and the Saints will have until July 15 to work out a multi-year deal. If they can't get anything done by that date, Brees will play the season under the franchise tender, assuming he signs the tender at some point.

Until Brees signs that tender he is not under contract, which means he won't be participating in any of the Saints offseason workouts until he does. This is an interesting dilemma for Brees because, as a player, his only real leverage is to not sign the tender and not show up. But on the other hand, the Saints, and mostly Brees, were lauded last year for coordinating offseason workouts on their own during the NFL lockout.

So the question becomes, when will Brees sign the franchise tender? Offseason workouts start up in April, which are the first real activities he would be missing.

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Drew Brees Contract: Saints Use Franchise Tag On Star QB

The New Orleans Saints have placed the franchise tag on their superstar quarterback, Drew Brees, the team announced Saturday. Brees and the Saints have reportedly been embroiled in an ugly negotiation, one that included GM Mickey Loomis calling the Super Bowl-winner and all-time single-season yardage king "very good, not great."

Players designated as a team's franchisee make the average of the five highest salaries at their position for one year, a number that won't be determined until the end of free agency though, at the moment, it appears to be between $16 million and $17 million for a quarterback, according to the NFL.

With Brees receiving the tag, that means Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks will become an unrestricted free agent, as will Brees' favorite wide receiver target, Marques Colston.

This news would be met with more, well, anything, were it not for the revelations that the Saints, under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, organized a ring of bounties as reward for injuring opposing teams' star players. Serious punishment is expected from the league. Any negotiations with Brees for a long-term deal, which must be reached by a July 15 deadline, might be put on the back burner while the team deals with the fallout.

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Saints, Drew Brees Situation Starting To Get A Little Ugly

New Orleans Saints' QB Drew Brees is scheduled to be a free agent on March 13 but the Saints will never let him reach the market. He'll be issued the franchise tag if the two sides can't reach an agreement by this weekend. The deadline to use the franchise tag is Monday, March 5.

But they are entering into dangerous territory, at least as far as the PR game goes. Earlier this week Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reported that the Saints GM only wanted to pay Brees as a "very good" not a great quarterback. That, of course, ruffled some feathers.

And now a report comes out -- probably from the team -- that the Saints offered Brees a contract before last season that would have made him the highest paid player in the NFL and he turned it down. Via Larry Holder at CBSSports.com:

The Saints offered Drew Brees a long-term contract before the 2011 season that would have made him the highest-paid player in the NFL -- and Brees and his agent, Tom Condon, turned down the offer, a league source told CBSSports.com. "He (general manager Mickey Loomis) offered Brees the highest-paid contract in NFL history," the source said. "Does that not equate with great or elite?"

The Saints and Drew Brees are a perfect match. He's the face of the franchise. That's why it's so strange to see the leaks and this PR game going on. It's not a coincidence a source revealed this news just a day after the Yahoo! Sports report.

Brees, more than likely, will be franchised before Monday's deadline and then the two sides will have until July 15 to replace the franchise tag with a longterm deal.

For all news and information regarding the New Orleans Saints, please visit Canal Street Chronicles. For complete coverage of football free agency, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NFL hub.

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Saints GM: Drew Brees Only 'Very Good,' Not 'Great', According To Report

Citing three league sources, Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports that New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis has been defining Drew Brees as a "very good", not "great" quarterback when asked to explain why it's taking so long to sign Brees to a contract extension.

The Saints have until 4 p.m. ET on Monday, March 5 to either sign Brees to a multi-year extension or use the franchise tag to retain negotiating rights. The franchise tender for a quarterback in 2012 is reportedly worth around $14.5 million. Recent contracts for top quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have averaged $18 million per season, with Michael Vick signing a six-year, $100 million extension ($16.667 million) last August. Eli Manning ($16.25 million) and Phillip Rivers ($15.3 million) round out the top five annual salaries at the quarterback position.

According to Cole, the Saints and Brees' agent, Tom Condon of CAA Football (who negotiated both of the Manning contracts), are over $5 million per year apart on contract talks, which could require Saints owner Tom Benson intervening to get a deal done.

If the Saints need to use the franchise tag on Brees, they're all but certain to lose Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks and No. 1 wide receiver Marques Colston to free agency. A long-term extension for Brees would enable the club to use their franchise tag on Nicks ($9.447 million) or Colston ($9.443 million).

For all news and information regarding the New Orleans Saints, please visit Canal Street Chronicles. For complete coverage of football free agency, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NFL hub.

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Drew Brees, Saints 'Well Apart' In Contract Talks; Franchise Tag Likely

The New Orleans Saints are dealing with a number of items on their "to-do" list for the offseason, but you can be certain that the number one priority on that list is retaining their superstar quarterback Drew Brees. Brees is an impending free agent this March and the driving force of the Saints' potent offense. New Orleans can ill afford to be without him in 2012 and they have no intention of doing so.


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Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on Wednesday that Brees and the Saints remain "well apart" in talks regarding a long-term contract for the quarterback. Schefter states that if the sides are unable to come to an agreement by Monday, the Saints will apply the franchise tag on Brees. It would be their last day they would be able to do so.

This news may seem somewhat surprising, but if Brees were to hit the open market, he would be by far the best player available this year and money would be no object to obtaining him for many teams. Brees is well aware of his value, as are the Saints. Either way, he won't be going anywhere.

For all news and information regarding the New Orleans Saints, please visit Canal Street Chronicles. For complete coverage of football free agency, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NFL hub.

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