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Arbitrator Stephen Burbank's ruling on Tuesday was a win for Drew Brees and his grievance regarding franchise-tag language. It was good news for Saints fans because it should help push the Saints closer to finalizing a contract with Brees by July 16. But we thought the deal would have been done some time ago.

The Saints would have to pay Brees $23.574 million in 2013 (144 per cent of his 2012 contract) if they were forced to use the franchise tag on him next season. If you include this season's $16.4 million tag, that would put his two-year total at $39,945. That's a lot of money from the Saints 'perspective.

This gives Brees and his agent some help in structuring a long-term contract. The Saints and Brees shouldn't be too far apart in total money now. If Brees and the Saints don't get a deal done by July 16, Brees would have all sorts of leverage in 2013, provided he isn't injured this season.

Tuesday's ruling is a deciding factor in complicated negations between Brees and the Saints, but it will be a factor that helps close a deal.

How close are the New Orleans Saints and their franchise player Drew Brees from ending their contract stalmate?

One writer says he believes they are close in money but perhaps not so close in guaranteed money.

From  PAUL JACKIEWICZ

"According to ESPN’s John Clayton, the New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees are still about $1 million apart from agreeing on a new contract.

“They’re really about a million dollars apart as far as trying to get a deal done,” said Clayton.

If both sides are so close to getting a deal done, the only reason I can think that they haven’t finalized anything,  is because the Saints can’t agree on how much guaranteed money they’re willing to give Brees."

League still mum on bountygate evidence

The rulings against the Saints aren't going to change. Jon Vilma and the others can cry as much as they want, but things aren't going to change. Vilma hasn't realized that Commissioner Roger Goodell is not only the judge and jury -- he is also the executioner.

The bountygate scandal could have turned into what could have been a credible turning point in NFL history, but now it is a total mess. And it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Get ready because bounygate is going to be a ride like we have never been on before.

Mike Freeman, CBS National NFL Insider, writes that if the bounygate suspended players had spoken to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell one-on-one, he's convinced Goodell would have reduced their suspensions. Freeman thinks Goodell wants to make a hardened point publicly, but if players acknowledge wrongdoing, he's open-minded.

He points out that there's a precedent for this. Goodell reduced Ben Roethlisberger's suspension from six to four games after the Steelers quarterback met with the commissioner one-on-one, and Roethlisberger's actions were far more heinous.

Goodell also allowed Eagles quarterback Michael Vick back into football despite his horrific acts, and Pacman Jones was given a second chance.

Mike Cerullo is keeping a low profile as the bountygate saga continues. The 45-year-old former Saints defensive assistant spent three seasons with the Saints from 2007 through 2009. Jon Vilma contends Cerullo is the guy who is the whistleblower for the bountygate. Even if he commended the process of sharing information with the NFL office, he has since recanted. If Cerullo continues to say nothing, some will believe that everything Vilma had said is true.

Cerullo is currently director of football operations at Princeton. He spent 2011 as a football aide at Columbia, and before that he served as an offensive assistant with the U. of Miami.

At this point, the league's ongoing refusal to share information obtained from Cerullo isn't helping him or anyone else. Other than, perhaps, the league.

News and notes

The Saints led the league in third-down conversions with a whopping 56.7 percent conversion rate. The Saints trio of tight end Jimmy Graham, running back/wide receiver Darren Sproles and wide receiver Marques Colston was difficult to stop in any situation. All three finished in the top 12 among third-down receivers and on total targets. Graham was No. 3, Sproles No. 7 and Colston No. 12. And, the Saints are the top triple-threat team heading into the 2012 season.

SOME hither, others yon: David Aldrdge of TNT on Twitter is reporting that the Hornets will indeed match the Suns' max offer to free agent Eric Gordon. Gordon has said his "heart is in Phoenix" but the Hornets are not prepared to let him get away. It remains to be seen if Gordon will ever stay healthy for an entire season as his games played number has declined each year, sinking to nine last season in New Orleans because of knee and back injuries. In any case, there's a great chance Gordon will play for the Hornets again this season...

New Hornets guard Austin Rivers on being cocky: "Every single great player is cocky and great players have an ego. I think it's about having a healthy ego and being cocky in the right way, and that's what I am. I do have an ego, but it's a healthy one. It's not one that brings teammates down or rubs them the wrong way or is arrogant."...The Z's drew their second largest attendance in club history Wednesday night with 11,778 fans. Largest crowd to see the Z's play at Zephyr Field was 11,925 on July 3, 2003...

College football's 12-year playoff is estimated to be worth $5 billion if not more, and bigger than the Final Four and the World Series. It's still two years off, but a city's chance to host the championship game will be only second to the Super Bowl...Parting thought: "I'm reading a book about gravity, and I just can't put it down."...

 

NFLPA Files Suit In Bounty Case, Claims Goodell 'Biased' In Appeals Process





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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  

 

Website: www.louisianasportstalk.com

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