In a move that further signals the future Hall of Famer’s impending retirement, Drew Brees has reworked his contract. Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com reports (via Twitter) that the Saints have renegotiated the quarterback’s deal. The move frees up nearly $24MM in cap space for 2021.
NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets that Brees has agreed to drop his 2021 base salary to the league minimum. New Orleans will temporarily carry a $12MM cap charge for Brees until June, a drastic decrease from his previous $36MM cap charge. Thanks to these cap machinations, the Saints will be able to keep Brees on their roster past June 1 while opening an abundance of cap space (assuming the veteran ultimately hangs up his cleats). Pelissero notes that the move also results in an $11.5MM cap charge in 2022.
The move does more than provide the Saints (who are an estimated $78MM over the cap) with some much-needed financial relief. Rather, as Fitzgerald writes, the restructuring buys Brees some time as he determines whether or not he’ll retire. Either way, the transaction is another major hint that Brees career may have come to an end. Indeed, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football seems to be hinting at the impending retirement announcement, tweeting that “one thing seems to be foreshadowing another.”
Of course, the writing’s been on the wall for a while. There were whispers about a potential retirement throughout the 2020 season, and the rumor mill has naturally heated up following the Saints’ elimination from the playoffs. While GM Mickey Loomis kept the door open on a potential return, there have been several subsequent reports stating that Brees will retire.
If this is truly the end for Brees, it will wrap up a bona fide Hall of Famer career. The 42-year-old has the most yards in league history, and he’s collected the second-most touchdowns behind Tom Brady. The next time we see Brees could be in the booth, as he signed a deal with NBC Sports last April.
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