The Saints have parted ways with several veteran players this offseason, trading away former All-Pros like Jimmy Graham and Ben Grubbs, sending young, inexpensive wideout Kenny Stills to Miami, and releasing top tackler Curtis Lofton. As the team overhauls its roster though, general manager Mickey Loomis insists that former Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees isn’t on the trade block, as he tells Jim Corbett of USA Today.
“Anybody who thinks we’re trading Drew Brees, that’s just not true,” Loomis said.
Despite a cap hit of $26.4MM for the coming season, the second-highest cap number in the NFL, Brees was never considered a real trade candidate within the last weeks, even as Loomis and the Saints significantly retooled the roster. In fact, around the time news of the Stills trade broke, one report indicated that Brees and young receiver Brandin Cooks were the only players on the New Orleans roster who were untouchable.
Still, Brees only has one year remaining on his contract after the 2015 season (featuring a $27.4MM cap hit for 2016), and turned 36 in January. There’s been some speculation that the Saints could use their excess of 2015 draft picks to make a play for Marcus Mariota, eyeing him as Brees’ long-term replacement. That always looked like a long shot though, and Loomis’ comments suggest it’s not in the Saints’ plans.
The more realistic and likely scenario has the team using those extra draft picks to stock up on defensive talent, perhaps using one or two selections to give Brees a little more help on the offensive side of the ball. Although Graham and Stills are gone, the Saints re-signed Mark Ingram, brought in C.J. Spiller and Pro Bowl center Max Unger, and wideouts Cooks and Marques Colston are still around, so the veteran signal-caller should have no shortage of weapons.