Saturday, 14 July 2012 12:55

Is Drew Brees really worth his New Orleans Saints deal?

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brees-panthersThe big news out of New Orleans this week has been Drew Brees and whether the New Orleans Saints would sign him.

That is history and as we all know, Brees will most likely be in Saintsdom for at least three years and if we are all lucky, five.

With the collective sigh of relief, now the question is, is he worth those incredible numbers?  Will he perform in the back years of his career as he did the first twelve? 


Can the New Orleans Saints front-line protect him so he remains as healthy as he was last year?

Should the worse occur and he gets hurt, can the New Orleans Saints possibly recover because the salary cap money is all but absorbed by his new contract.  

As far as his contract, this is from Andrew Brandt of

Brees was carrying a one-year franchise tag number of $16.371 million. That is no longer. 

Brees will receive a staggering $37 million signing bonus, to be paid in full over the next six months. And for the 2012 season, Brees will receive a salary of $3 million, bringing his 2012 earnings to $40 million. This represents the highest one-year earnings in the NFL. 

As the signing bonus is prorated over the contract term of five years, Brees’ cap number this year consists of the prorated bonus amount ($7.4 million), plus the salary ($3 million). This $10.4 million compares favorably to the $16.371 cap number that the Saints were carrying on Brees, a savings of almost $6 million to the Saints’ tight cap. 

Year 2 

When the 2013 waiver period begins after the Super Bowl -- held in New Orleans this year -- the Saints will have three days to release Brees. Should they do so (highly unlikely), he will become a free agent with $40 million in his pocket for his 2012 services. 

If the Saints do not release him, a $15 million guarantee activates -- $10 million in 2013 and $5 million in 2014. 

Thus, Brees’ two-year earnings are $50 million, but the functional amount is really $55 million as an additional $5 million for 2014 is guaranteed with no offset. That means if Brees is released before 2014 and signs with another team, he would keep the entire $5 million from the Saints in addition to his earnings from a new team. 

The device in the last two years of the contract forces the Saints to cut him, if at all, sufficiently early in then offseason to give him a full chance to land elsewhere.

In all, he'll receive $40 million this year, $10 million in 2013, $11 million in 2014, $19 million in 2015, and $20 million in 2016.

The new deal actually reduces Brees' cap number dramatically, from $16.37 million to $10.4 million. Next year, his cap number will be $17.4 million. In 2014, the cap number will be $18.4 million. By 2015, when the new TV deals from 2014 hit the cap, Brees' cap number will be $26.4 million. In the final year of the deal, the cap number becomes $27.4 million.

The structure makes it, in essence, a three-year $61 million contract with a team option for year four (at $19 million) and year five (at $20 million).

If he keeps playing at a high level and stays healthy, he'll potentially get it all. If not, he'll be on the market before free agency begins, in 2015 or 2016.

Now, let’s see what those numbers really mean and after the exuberating of the signing  dies, is there a chance that those numbers might come back to haunt Tom Benson’s squad.'s Brian McIntyre has dug into the Saints payroll and came up with Drew Brees is now making more than the entire Saints' offense,

On Friday, Brees and the Saints agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract that includes $60 million in guaranteed money and $40 million in 2012.

Saints fans were buzzing again about the Saints going to the Super Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this season and Saints gifts shops were selling out of Brees jerseys.

The deal is the richest in NFL history, with the $40 million that Brees will earn this season more money than the salaries of the other 10 projected starters on the Saints' offense.

Billy Kilmer, the Saints' first quarterback, played for $27,500 his first season. The Saints' Archie Manning was the highest-paid player in the league before he retired.

Here's that breakdown from McIntyre:

2012 Cash Totals

Brees: $40 million

Rest of Saints offense: $37.755 million

 Still, Saints running back Pierre Thomas, like most Saints fans, said it was about time the Saints signed Drew Brees..

"He' getting what he deserves," Thomas told ESPN after the quarterback signed a five-year deal worth $100 million on Friday, "He does a lot for this organization. He does a lot for New Orleans. He busts his butt to get to the position where he is in his career.

"He has so many records, the man is a coach of the game, a teacher of the game and he's a player, too," said Thomas. "He's a great guy and you want  to see greatness for him. I'm proud and happy for him."
Thomas said Brees signing puts the focus back on the team and now there's real optimism as they get ready for this season.

Thomas said he doesn't think Brees is a bit overpaid and the team got a deal. 

Headlines: "Chiefs preached 'kill the head and the body will die."...Sean Payton was sure the Drew Brees deal would get done." When he's not dancing in the Bahamas, the Saints coach is coaching his 12-year-old son's football team in Dallas. Rumor that Brees talked with Payton before he signed (excuse me while I choke) before Drew signed are false.  Would be against suspension rules. Full details of Brees' contract can be found at the link Pro Football Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel believes Joe Paterno should be stripped of many of his victories and Florida State icon Bobby Bowden restored as the winningest  coach in major college history...

Anthony Davis will replace Blake Griffin on Team USA following Griffin's knee injury. Davis played on a bum wheel and looked fairly good against Dominion Republic, scoring nine points, including a four-point play. He will officially be placed on the roster pending on Griffin's removal anytime now...David Letterman: ""You know whose birthday it is today? O. J. Simpson. O. J. celebrated his birthday with some friends in prison, and they had a nice little party for him. Out of habit, after he cut the cake he hid the knife." O.J. now weighs 287 and spends most of his time watching TV...I'm supposed to respect my elders. but getting harder and harder for me to find one now...

Is Drew Brees worth the Saints contract?  Talk about that issue below



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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. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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