Saints Rumors

Drew Brees, Saints Have Until Mid-March For New Deal

  • March 14th is essentially the deadline for the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees to come to an agreement on a new contract, writes ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano. The final three seasons of the veteran’s contract will void on that day, and if they wish to keep Brees for another season, they’d be required to tolerate his salary and his “$18 million worth of signing bonus prorated on this year’s salary cap.”

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Opinion: Saints, Brees Could Compromise At $25MM/Year

If Drew Brees decides to play hardball, he could take control of his contract negotiations with the Saints, Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune writes. But, so far, Brees has been a good solider, saying repeatedly that he wants to retire in New Orleans and indicating that he will not test the free agent market.

In theory, things can change between now and March 14. If the Saints try to lowball the 39-year-old, Brees could threaten to test the open waters to try and regain leverage. Despite his age, Brees would almost certainly garner offers of more than $30MM per year, putting him ahead of Jimmy Garoppolo and just behind the expected annual average value of Kirk Cousins‘ next contract.

Latest On Coby Fleener

  • Last Wednesday, $3.4MM of Coby Fleener‘s 2018 base salary became guaranteed, as Nick Underhill of the Advocate points out (via Twitter). The Saints‘ tight end is under contract through 2020, but he has not become the top target for Drew Brees that many expected when he signed with New Orleans several years ago. The Saints could have saved $3.2MM against the cap by releasing him prior to Wednesday, but there is no obvious replacement on the roster, and if he has not been medically cleared following his season-ending concussion, that could have further complicated matters. It therefore looks like Fleener will be back in New Orleans in 2018.

Colts Eyeing Frank Reich, Dan Campbell

The Colts’ head coaching search is on. Again. This time, the Colts are expected to start by requesting permission to speak with Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich and Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell, sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Frank Reich (Vertical)

Reich was a hot name at the beginning of this year’s coaching cycle which makes sense considering how effective the Eagles’ offense was in 2017. However, over time, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo wound up garnering more attention from teams with HC vacancies for his role in Carson Wentz‘s development. His candidacy may also have been hurt by the fact that Doug Pederson is the play caller in Philadelphia.

Last season, the Philly offense ranked third in scoring, seventh in yards, and eighth in DVOA. The 56-year-old has worked as an NFL coach since 2008 and is perhaps best known for leading the Bills offense back from a 32-point deficit in a 1993 playoff game, After spending time with the Colts and Cardinals, Reich was the Chargers’ offensive coordinator from 2014-15 before joining the Eagles the following year.

The 41-year-old Campbell has served only as a tight ends coach or an interim head coach in his seven-year tenure as a full-time NFL assistant. Still, he was one of 12 head coaching candidates recommended by the NFL’s Career Development Advisory Panel late last year and he was a candidate for the Vikings’ OC opening. The Dolphins also interviewed him in early 2016 for their HC job before settling on Adam Gase.

Other names linked to the job include Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 2/6/18

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Tennessee Titans

Saints Cut DT Tony McDaniel

The Saints announced that they have released defensive tackle Tony McDaniel. McDaniel was already scheduled for free agency in March, so his return to New Orleans was never assured. Tony McDaniel (Vertical)

McDaniels hooked on with the Saints in late December for his second stint with the team. The 33-year-old’s first go ’round came over the summer when he appeared in all four preseason games with the team before being released at the start of the season. In between those two New Orleans trips, McDaniel also appeared in four games for the 49ers.

All in all, McDaniels wound up appearing in just one regular season game for the Saints as well as their first round playoff win against the Panthers. An undisclosed injury in the Carolina game landed him on injured reserve, ruling him out for the divisional round game against the Vikings.

Now that McDaniel and fellow defensive lineman Nick Fairley have been released, the Saints have two vacant spots on their roster. It is expected that the Saints will use those openings to formally sign wide receiver Josh Huff and linebacker Jayrone Elliott. The Saints agreed to terms with both players in January, but the NFL nullified the deals because the team was already at the 90-man maximum.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Cut DT Nick Fairley

Nick Fairley‘s tenure with the Saints has come to an end. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the team has cut the defensive tackle with a non-football illness designation.

Nick FairleyFairley signed a four-year, $28MM ($14MM guaranteed) deal with the Saints this past offseason. However, he was shelved prior to the season after a team doctor discovered a heart condition. After receiving multiple opinions, the organization ultimately placed the defensive lineman on the non-football illness list.

Yates tweets that Fairley was due a $750,000 roster bonus this week, and his $4.25MM salary also would have become fully-guaranteed at this time. Nick Underhill of The Advocate tweets that the grievance over that money is still ongoing. Both sides had previously filed a grievance with the NFL’s Management Council over how much guaranteed money would ultimately be owed to the 30-year-old.

The 2011 first-round pick spent the first four seasons of his career with the Lions before bouncing between the Rams and Saints. In 2016, Fairley finished with 43 tackles and a career-high 6.5 sacks for New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Updated 2018 NFL Draft Order

With the Super Bowl in the books, we now know the draft order for the entire first round of the 2018 draft. Here’s the rundown:

1. Cleveland Browns (0-16)

2. New York Giants (3-13)

3. Indianapolis Colts (4-12)

4. Cleveland Browns (via the 4-12 Houston Texans)

5. Denver Broncos (5-11)

6. New York Jets (5-11)

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)

8. Chicago Bears (5-11)

T-9. Oakland Raiders (6-10)

T-9. San Francisco 49ers (6-10) (Note: The Raiders and 49ers have identical records and the same strength of schedule. The tie will be broken by a coin flip with the winner getting pick No. 9 and the other club receiving the No. 10 pick.)

11. Miami Dolphins (6-10)

12. Cincinnati Bengals (7-9)

13. Washington Redskins (7-9)

14. Green Bay Packers (7-9)

15. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)

16. Baltimore Ravens (9-7)

17. Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)

18. Seattle Seahawks (9-7)

19. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)

20. Detroit Lions (9-7)

21. Buffalo Bills (9-7)

22. Buffalo Bills (via the 10-6 Kansas City Chiefs)

23. Los Angeles Rams (11-5)

24. Carolina Panthers (11-5)

25. Tennessee Titans (9-7)

26. Atlanta Falcons (10-6)

27. New Orleans Saints (11-5)

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)

30. Minnesota Vikings (13-3)

31. New England Patriots (13-3)

32. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

Eagles Nearly Traded For Brandin Cooks

Brandin Cooks had a successful first season in New England, posting 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns for the AFC champions after he was acquired from the Saints last offseason in exchange for a first-round draft pick. However, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports, Cooks was very nearly traded to the Eagles, the team he will be playing against in tonight’s Super Bowl.

Brandin Cooks (vertical)

Per Rapoport, the Eagles had agreed to trade safety Malcolm Jenkins, a third-round pick, and two fourth-rounders to New Orleans for Cooks, but the trade was scuttled at the last minute.

It is impossible to say how the deal would have impacted the Saints, Patriots, or Eagles, but at least from Philadelphia’s perspective, it is probably for the best that it did not happen. If it had, the Eagles likely would not have signed Alshon Jeffery, who was terrific in his first season in Philly, and they would have sorely missed Jenkins, who earned a Pro Bowl nod this year.

Plus, the third-rounder that would have been sent to New Orleans ended up being used in a separate trade to acquire Timmy Jernigan, and one of the fourth-rounders was used on promising young wideout Mack Hollins. All in all, then, it seems as if all parties involved are happy with the way things worked out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2018 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Jay Ajayi (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.908MM in 2018. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2018 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Trent Brown, T; Eli Harold, LB

Bears: Adrian Amos, S

Bengals: Tyler Kroft, TE; Josh Shaw, DB

Bills: John Miller, G

Broncos: Max Garcia, G; Trevor Siemian, QB

Browns: Duke Johnson, RB

Buccaneers: Kwon Alexander, LB

Cardinals: David Johnson, RB; J.J. Nelson, WR

Chargers: Kyle Emanuel, LB

Chiefs: Chris Conley, WR; Steven Nelson, CB

Colts: Henry Anderson, DE; Mark Glowinski, G; Denzelle Good, OL

Dolphins: Bobby McCain, CB

Eagles: Jay Ajayi, RB; Jordan Hicks, LB

Falcons: Grady Jarrett, DT

Jaguars: A.J. Cann, OL

Lions: Quandre Diggs, CB

Packers: Jake Ryan, LB

Panthers: Daryl Williams, T

Patriots: Trey Flowers, DE; Shaq Mason, G

Raiders: Clive Walford, TE

Rams: Jamon Brown, G

Ravens: Za’Darius Smith, LB

Redskins: T.J. Clemmings, OL; Jamison Crowder, WR

Saints: Tyeler Davison, DT

Seahawks: Tyler Lockett, WR

Steelers: Jesse James, TE

Vikings: Stefon Diggs, WR; Danielle Hunter, DE

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.