Although negotiations between the Saints and Drew Brees haven’t taken place in more than a month, significant issues figure to crop up when the two sides do engage once again, as Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports details. The most important point in talks, unsurprisingly, will be guaranteed money, and two league sources tell Robinson that Brees could see in excess of $65MM in guarantees on a four-year contract worth between $95MM and $100MM in total.
That potential price tag is one reason that New Orleans and Brees’ agent Tom Condon haven’t dialogued in awhile, a source tells Robinson. Additionally, the Saints are more than willing to stomach Brees’ 2016 cap charge of $30MM, having already put in work during the offseason to ensure that they could fit that number into their budget. Letting Brees play out the 2016 season under that figure will ensure that New Orleans doesn’t lock up its veteran quarterback only to see his play fall off during the upcoming year.
Condon, for his part, could play a large role in talks (aside from his obvious contributions as Brees’ counsel). The longtime NFL agent negotiated two deals between Peyton Manning and the Colts, both of which were hammered out after Manning’s previous deal had expired — that experience could prove beneficial if Brees does in fact play out the 2016 season without reaching an extension. Moreover, per Robinson, the relationship between Condon and Saints general manager Mickey Loomis is strong, as the duo have already worked out two Brees contracts.
The other key factor in talks could be whether the Saints feel that they can find a suitable successor to Brees if the two sides can’t agree on a long-term deal. There were conflicting reports as to whether New Orleans attempted to trade for the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, as well as whether the club was interested in Paxton Lynch, but Robinson confirms that the Saints were indeed interested in selecting a quarterback this year.
2015 third-round pick Garrett Grayson could prove to be an option down the line, but sources tell Robinson that the former Colorado State Ram isn’t yet ready to direct an NFL offense. Brees and backup quarterback Luke McCown are such experts in the New Orleans offense that Grayson is often lost in QB meetings, stuck trying to master the basics of the scheme while the veterans are light years ahead.
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