The Saints have been a pleasant surprise this season, jumping out to a 6-2 record on the strength of a largely young and talented roster that should continue to grow together for the next few years. Future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Drew Brees, however, may not be in New Orleans beyond this season.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) says the Saints are unsure as to whether Brees, who will be a free agent at season’s end, will be back in 2018. There have been no contract talks this season, and those talks will not commence until the season is over. Brees, of course, will want to be paid well, but Rapoport says he is missing some throws that he usually makes and that the team has noticed a slight decline in the 38-year-old’s overall performance.
That decline, however, is not manifesting itself in Brees’ statistics. His 71.6% completion rate is the best in the league, and while he is averaging under 300 passing yards per game for the first time since 2010, his quarterback rating of 105.0 is the highest it has been since 2011. He has also thrown 13 touchdowns against just four interceptions and has generally looked like the same great player he has always been for the Saints.
Rapoport says that Brees does not want to play for anyone other than the Saints, so if the two sides cannot agree to a new deal in 2018, it will be interesting to see whether No. 9 simply elects to call it a career. Speculatively, however, it seems that New Orleans will not squander all of the young talent it has at other positions by discarding the best player the franchise has ever had — and who is still pretty darn good — in favor of a less talented and/or more unproven signal-caller. But until the ink is dry on a new contract, this will be one of the more intriguing storylines to follow when the calendar flips to 2018.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.