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The Saints waited until the last minute, but re-signed Drew Brees before free agency

Brees isn’t leaving the Big Easy anytime soon.

Divisional Round - New Orleans Saints v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

There was never much doubt quarterback Drew Brees would stay with the New Orleans Saints for at least one more year, but the team sure cut it close. With just a day to spare until free agency, the Saints got the deal done and signed Brees to a new contract worth $50 million over two years, according to Ian Rapoport. The deal includes $27 million guaranteed.

While exact details haven’t been reported, it looks like Brees has a similar cap hit to 2017, when he made $19 million. It’s really no sweat for New Orleans, though. If Brees left, he was going to count $18 million against the team’s salary cap, so the team wouldn’t have saved much if it allowed him to walk.

The Saints have kept Brees on glorified one-year deals in recent seasons as they try to navigate tight cap space. They entered the offseason with $31.6 million in salary cap room, according to Over The Cap, and after locking up Brees, general manager Mickey Loomis might have to get creative again to fit free agent signings on the payroll.

Keeping Brees around ensures that the Saints can build on their 2017 season, where they broke a three-year playoff drought thanks to an improved defense and phenomenal rookie class. With Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore taking both Rookie of the Year awards on offense and defense respectively, the Saints won the NFC South at 11-5 and advanced to the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

The Saints’ improved supporting cast meant Brees didn’t have to carry the load, as usual. He still had an outstanding year even with less gaudy stats — his 4,344 passing yards were his fewest since 2005, and 23 touchdown passes was his lowest mark since an injury-shortened 2003. Yet Brees himself wasn’t any less efficient, as he threw just eight interceptions and set the single-season record with a 72 percent completion rate.

Brees hasn’t lost a step despite turning 39 years old in January, and after locking him down to a new contract, the Saints can address roster needs elsewhere while trying to get the future Hall of Famer his second Super Bowl ring.