Is Brees poised to set new QB market next offseason?

28 Jul


For all of the leverage Kirk Cousins has accrued via the franchise tag over the past two years, he might just take a backseat to Drew Brees in setting a new quarterback market next offseason.

While the Saints dodged that unappetizing prospect with an eleventh-hour deal just before last year’s season opener, Brees plans to play out his contract this time around.

“Honestly, my mind has not been there at all,” Brees said Thursday, via The Times-Picayune. “It’s really a non-issue. For me, it’s all about this season and how good can we be this season. That’s really all I’m focused on right now.”

Saints management has yet to approach Brees about a new deal. Perhaps because he is operating with the luxury of a rare contract clause that precludes the use of the franchise tag in 2018, Brees is in no rush to field an offer from the organization.

“I don’t expect them to,” Brees offered. “I don’t really desire them to. I just want to play football. I want to help this team.”

Joining forces with Sean Payton in 2006, Brees has spent the past decade rewriting the record books in the friendly indoor confines of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Of the nine 5,000-yard passing seasons in NFL history, Brees boasts five of them.

As easy as it is to believe the 38-year-old gunslinger will opt to re-sign in New Orleans before he reaches the open market, he has hinted at the appeal of embarking on a recruiting trail akin to Peyton Manning’s 2012 tour through Arizona, Miami, Tennessee and Denver.

“I’m just taking it one year at a time, honestly, because I certainly don’t want to miss out,” Brees explained in January, via The Times-Picayune. “I don’t want to overlook any opportunity. I don’t want to miss out on any just moment, and I understand that I’m more toward the end of my career than I am the beginning and so time is limited.”

Even at Brees’ relatively advanced football age, quarterback-needy franchises would line up for the opportunity to pitch woo. Thanks to advances in nutrition, sports science and quick-strike passing attacks, veteran signal-callers are enjoying success much later in their careers.

After watching the 17-year veteran ace this week’s conditioning test, Saints teammates marveled at his ability to stiff-arm Father Time.

“Drew is not 38,” linebacker Craig Robertson gushed Thursday. “That’s just chronological right now. Drew is definitely like 26.”

Wide receiver Willie Snead believes his quarterback can match the twilight-year heroics of the reigning Super Bowl MVP.

Tom Brady is 40 years old and still killing it,” Snead said. “I think Drew is just as good as Tom Brady, so I’m not surprised that he’s doing it.”

Two of Brady’s finest seasons came at ages 38 and 39. Returning from a series of career-threatening neck surgeries, Manning breathed new life into the Broncos franchise for four years after signing at age 36.

“I’ve got a few more (years) at least,” Brees vowed on Good Morning Football this past offseason.

If the “King of the Air” is truly intent on exploring his options after the 2017 season, he has the potential to push the high-end quarterback salary to $30 million or more annually.

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