Drew Brees

NFC South Notes: Brees, McCaffrey, Winston

Let’s check out a few notes from the NFC South:

  • Drew Brees could be back from his thumb injury as soon as week 8 against the Cardinals, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Brees is in close contact with a hand specialist as he works to get back to full strength and has impressed the Saints with the strides he has made thus far. His initial timeframe from his surgery puts a return in two weeks not out of the question and there has been nothing in the process so far to have altered that schedule. If Brees can practice fully that week and show an ability to play fully and normally, then a return against the Cardinals is quite possible.
  • If the Panthers don’t extend Christian McCaffrey‘s contract during the offseason, a holdout wouldn’t be surprising, according to Joel Corry of CBS Sports. McCaffrey, who has been an all around force for the Panthers this season, has the same representation as Khalil Mack and Chris Johnson. Johnson held out in 2011 with two years left on his rookie deal and eventually became one of the top paid running backs in the NFL.
  • If Jameis Winston re-signs with the Buccaneers after this season, it would not be for much more than his salary this season, the average of what an average, experienced quarterback makes, speculates Buccaneers insider Roy Cummings. Despite this, as of today’s writing, Winston has been off to an above average season thus far, throwing for 1,371 yards and 11 touchdowns through five games.

Injury Updates: Saints, Brees, Giants

Saints quarterback Drew Brees wants to return sometime before the team’s Week 9 bye, but the team wants to exercise caution and push that off until Week 10, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports tweets. The Saints’ position makes sense, given Brees’ importance and Teddy Bridgewater‘s recent performance.

The Saints are 4-1 following Sunday’s win over the Bucs and they’ll look to make it four straight with a win over the Jaguars on Sunday afternoon.

Here’s more on some notable injuries around the NFL:

  • The Giants officially ruled out running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), tight end Evan Engram (knee), and running back Wayne Gallman (concussion) for Thursday night’s game against the Pats. The Giants showed some new signs of life following Daniel Jones‘ takeover of the offense, but they fell to the Vikings over the weekend and the odds may be stacked against them in New England.
  • Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians says edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul will be able to resume practicing with the team next week. JPP has not missed a game over the last two seasons, but he has yet to make his 2019 debut thanks to a fractured vertebra in his neck. Recently, he restructured his deal with the Bucs, allowing him to reach free agency after the ’19 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Payton, Brees, Quinn

The extension that Saints head coach Sean Payton signed last month is a whopper. Payton was making $9MM per year under his previous contract, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the offensive guru will now be pulling down around $13MM per season. That deal is one of the largest among coaches of North American professional sports, and it obviously will put an end to speculation concerning Payton’s long-term future in the Big Easy.

Now for more from the NFC South, starting with the other face of the Saints:

  • Drew Brees is throwing a football again, as shown on a video that the Saints star posted on Instagram. Brees managed to avoid a trip to the IR, and last week we learned that he is making progress in his recovery from thumb surgery. New Orleans is 2-0 with Brees’ backup, Teddy Bridgewater, at the helm, and the club will try to make that 3-0 against Tampa Bay this afternoon. Previous reports suggested that Brees could return for the club’s November 10 matchup with the Falcons.
  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is on the hot seat, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says an Atlanta loss to the Texans today could expedite Quinn’s ouster. After all, a loss would drop the team to 1-4, and with difficult games against the Rams and Seahawks following the Falcons’ matchup with the Cardinals next week, Atlanta could be looking at a 2-6 record after the first half of the season. Atlanta has three former head coaches on its staff — offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, tight ends coach Mike Mularkey, and receivers coach Raheem Morris — and owner Arthur Blank may be thinking about putting one of them in charge to finish out the season if Quinn can’t right the ship immediately.
  • Greg Auman of The Athletic observes that the Buccaneers could be in line for a third-round compensatory pick to offset the loss of Kwon Alexander in free agency and a fourth-rounder to offset the loss of Adam Humphries. As it currently stands, Tampa Bay signed enough outside free agents to negate those compensatory picks, but given that some of those free agents are underperforming (or barely playing), the Bucs could cut them loose prior to Week 9 to put themselves back on track for the compensatory selections. That means that Deone Bucannon, Breshad Perriman, and Bradley Pinion could all be in danger of being cut.

Injury Notes: Brees, Saquon, Green, Sam, Hill

Here are the latest injury notes from around the league as Week 4 gets underway:

 

Saints Won’t Place Drew Brees On IR

Saints coach Sean Payton says he does not plan to place quarterback Drew Brees on injured reserve. That means Brees will be eligible to return in less than eight weeks, which is excellent news for the Saints. 

This jibes with what we heard shortly after Brees was diagnosed with a torn ligament in his thumb earlier this week. The initial estimate was six weeks, so he’s likely on track for that same window.

If he’s out for six weeks, Brees will miss games against the Seahawks (this Sunday), Cowboys, Buccaneers, Jaguars, Bears, and Cardinals. After that, the Saints have a bye week, which would put Brees on target for a Nov. 10 return at home against the rival Falcons.

In the interim, the Saints are moving forward with Teddy Bridgewater as the starter and Taysom Hill as his lone backup. With Brees still on the 53-man roster, the club is unlikely to consider an outside arm to round out the QB room.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints’ Drew Brees To Miss Six Weeks?

Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right thumb, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). He’ll need surgery to fix the issue, which will likely keep him out for six weeks. 

From here, the Saints will have to decide whether to place Brees on injured reserve, or keep him on the active roster. Placing Brees on IR would free up a place on the 53-man squad, but it would rule Brees out for a full eight weeks. Given Brees’ importance to the team, it seems likely that he won’t go on IR, but we should know for sure in the coming hours.

While Brees is out, backup Teddy Bridgewater figures to start for the Saints at quarterback. Of course, Taysom Hill also looms in the background.

Previous to this, Brees hadn’t missed a game since 2015. Even though Brees has beaten the odds, and Father Time, for many years, no one can escape the injury bug forever in football.

Bridgewater is the highest-paid backup in the NFL, and the team gave up draft capital to acquire him in the first place, so they clearly have confidence in the one-time Vikings star. The 26-year-old finished Sunday’s game having completed 17 of his 30 attempts for 165 yards and no touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Drew Brees “Concerned” About Thumb Injury

Quarterback Drew Brees left the Saints’ loss to the Rams today after injuring the thumb on his throwing hand. Following the game, the future Hall of Famer didn’t sound particularly optimistic about his ailment.

“Yeah I am concerned,” Brees told reporters (including ESPN’s Mike Triplett). “I’m hoping it’s not too significant.”

Brees revealed that he injured his thumb after hitting the hand of Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The veteran didn’t return to the game, and he was seen with a lower hand/wrist wrap as he stood on the sideline. Brees told reporters after the game that he already underwent x-rays and is set to visit a hand specialist, and he warned that his status is “all up in the air right now” (via Katherine Terrell of The Athletic on Twitter).

As Triplett notes, the durable quarterback has missed only one single game since high school: a 2015 matchup against the Panthers when he was recovering from a shoulder injury. Brees also suffered a major shoulder injury towards the end of the 2005 season, but he managed to return in time for the start of the 2006 campaign.

While losing Brees would naturally have a significant impact on their season, the Saints believe highly in their backups. Teddy Bridgewater is the highest-paid backup in the NFL, and the team gave up relatively-significant draft capital to acquire him in the first place. The 26-year-old finished Sunday’s game having completed 17 of his 30 attempts for 165 yards and no touchdowns. The Saints are also rostering quarterback Taysom Hill, although the coaching staff seems to prefer him in his Swiss-Army-knife role.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Saints, Brees, Panthers, Smith

Many have wondered how much longer Saints quarterback Drew Brees will continue to play, but GM Mickey Loomis says he isn’t stressing over the 40-year-old quarterback’s future.

You know, I don’t think we look at it that way anymore. I think we look at it in terms of, ‘Hey, this year,’ you know? And man, he had a great season last year, and we expect a great season this year,” Loomis said (via The Advocate). “And so for as long as he wants to play and can play, he’s going to have that opportunity.”

If Brees returns for 2020, he’ll might not have any worlds left to conquer. Already, the veteran has set new NFL all-time records for career completions and passing yards. Meanwhile, he’s just 20 career passing touchdowns away from vaulting past Peyton Manning‘s 539 mark.

The Saints will happily keep Brees as long as he’s playing at an elite level, but they will have to figure out his contractual situation in order to stay the course. As it stands, Brees is set to count for $21.3MM in dead money against the Saints’ cap in 2020, which may prompt the team to kick the can down the road with yet another contract adjustment.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

Saints Restructure Drew Brees’ Contract

The Saints are clearing up some cap space. New Orleans is restructuring Drew Brees‘ contract to give them some added flexibility in free agency, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Pelissero writes that the procedural move will clear up $10.8MM in cap space. Pelissero notes that the Saints needed to free up some immediate cash as they attempt to re-sign Teddy Bridgewater and prepare to host tight end Jared Cook. Pelissero also notes that it’s not going to effect Brees’ compensation, as he’ll still be due $23MM cash in 2019.

Instead, New Orleans just appears to be deferring a cap hit to the future. In a follow-up tweet, Pelissero explains that Brees’ contract is set to void after this season, and that the Saints will be left with $21.3MM in dead money, whether Brees returns for the 2020 season or not. Before this restructure, it was going to be $10.5MM in dead money.

It’s a big hit to take next season, but the Saints have move to makes. Bridgewater is having second thoughts about re-signing with the Saints, and met with the Dolphins yesterday. He appears to be leveraging the Dolphins to get more money from the Saints, and it’s working if this restructure is any indication. If the Saints are serious about signing Cook he isn’t going to come cheaply, which also helps explain this move.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Brees, Cardinals, Hall, Garoppolo

Drew Brees will carry an NFL-high $33.5MM cap charge in 2019, but the Saints could potentially make moves to reduce that hit, as Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com writes. “We’ll see what happens,” general manager Mickey Loomis said Wednesday. “We know it’s coming at some point, and we’ve kind of kicked the can down the road a number of times, haven’t we?” Indeed, New Orleans has pushed Brees’ cap charges into future years on multiple occasions. Just last year, Brees inked a two-year contract which includes a voidable year in 2020, which allowed the Saints to move $10.5MM of Brees’ commitment to that season’s books. As Loomis notes, New Orleans has “a lot of mechanisms to maneuver the cap,” so another extension or restructure could be in the offing.

Here is more from the NFC:

  • The 2018 season marked the first NFL campaign without DeAngelo Hall‘s involvement since 2003. The recently retired Redskins safety may be eyeing a return to the league as a coach. Hall said (via Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan, on Twitter) he interviewed for a position as Redskins secondary coach on Tuesday. The team, though, went with Ray Horton to oversee its defensive backs. Hall, 35, also could begin his coaching career at the college level, indicating he interviewed for a job on Maryland’s staff as well. After Hall passed on the Terrapins’ offer, in hopes of pursuing the Redskins’ position, the Big Ten program went in another direction (Twitter link via Brendan Darr of 106.7 The Fan). So, Hall remains an interesting coaching free agent.
  • Kliff Kingsbury already received a commitment from a 2004 first-round pick to help his offense, with Larry Fitzgerald re-signing with the Cardinals for 2019. Seeking more help for his first Arizona offense, Kingsbury met with another member of that ’04 first-round contingent. J.P. Losman interviewed for a position on the Cardinals’ offensive staff, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Currently serving as a Clemson staffer, Losman, 37, was a Bills first-rounder 15 years ago.
  • The 49ers may see their quarterback on the field by OTAs. That is the goal for a Jimmy Garoppolo re-emergence, John Lynch said on the RapSheet and Friends Podcast (via NFL.com). Lynch confirmed Garoppolo has not endured any setbacks on his recovery from a September ACL tear. This is the latest update indicating Garoppolo participating in OTAs was a realistic possibility.

Zach Links contributed to this report