What's next for the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees after he agreed to have his contract renegotiated to free cap space?
It's that last look. Perhaps Drew Brees' final time looking at the Superdome as a player. It's been 15 seasons of commitment, dedication, hard work, pain, and sweat endured by Brees.
As he exited the Superdome's playing field, the lasting impression of him looking back seemed ominous for me, many a Saints fan, and the game's viewers.
Before and after the playoff loss, plenty of talk and innuendos of his retirement have been stated and debated. The theories and speculations of his pending decision will fill the websites' headlines and blast through your social media timelines.
With that known, there's the unknown. Will Drew Brees retire? Or, was the renegotiated contract simply a friendly gesture to allow the Saints to have cap space for the upcoming free agency period?
Nevertheless, Brees' decision will be the push to start the dominoes to fall in New Orleans. Whether he stays or leaves, uncertainty will remain for the Saints. Here's why?
Jason Fitzgerald from OvertheCap.com broke the news of New Orleans and Brees agreeing to renegotiate his contract to reduce the team's cap numbers for 2021.
The cap space freedom is because Drew Brees will retire and the announcement looms.
Coach Payton has shed light on Brees' retirement situation on multiple interviews in the past week. He disclosed to Will Brinson on his Pick Six Podcast, "well, look, I think that's coming in the next week or two." Some can deduce Brees and the Saints have already planned his retirement announcement. The contract restructuring at this juncture reinforces the notion of him ending his career and allowing New Orleans an opportunity to recruit and sign another quarterback or additional players.
THE SAINTS NEXT QUARTERBACK?
Again, we turn to Sean Payton. He spoke glowingly about Jameis Winston as a quarterback and asserting he is a "tremendous leader." The more telling sign the Saints are interested in Winston was when he mentioned their "hope of" signing him to a contract.
Taysom is going into his second year of a $21M contract. So, the team has one QB ready and waiting if Winston and the Saints cannot agree on terms.
Clutch Points reported a rumor that New Orleans inquired about a trade for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz's colossal 4-year, $128M contract and $34.6M cap hit may prohibit the Saints from considering a deal for the Eagles' QB.
The Saints have Khai Harley (VP of Football Administration) and Mickey Loomis (EVP/GM), who are masters at revising contracts and negotiating cap-friendly deals in the past for the club.
Last, Teddy Bridgewater's future in Carolina is on extremely shaky ground after their head coach and new general manager fail to give unconditional support to the former Saints quarterback. Remember, the Panthers actively pursued a trade for then Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford. The rumors continue as they may have an interest in a couple of other potential veteran QBs.
WHAT DID THE SAINTS GAIN?
$24 million in cap space gives Mickey Loomis more freedom to make moves in the open market. The burden of what was projected as a $36M cap charge could have crippled any thought of landing a reliable replacement going into the post-Brees era. After restructuring, the cap charge for Brees dropped to approximately $12.5M.
I must reiterate, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have not confirmed their starting quarterback is retiring.
Still, the developments from the contract renegotiations have certainly laid the groundwork for Loomis and the Saints to seek alternatives at quarterback more aggressively in free agency or via a trade.
Yet, if Sean Payton is true to his word, then as he said more than once since the last offseason, "the next Saints quarterback is in the building."
Taysom? Jameis? Or, still, Drew?
We shall see.
- Report: Saints Renegotiate Drew Brees' Contract (Read Here)
- Top 10 Salary Cap Hits for the Saints (Read Here)
- Why Jameis Winston will be the Saints Starting QB in 2021 (Read Here)
- Jamies Winston and Michael Vick Talk about Brees, Saints, and his Future (Read Here)
- Winston the better option for Saints before/after Stafford Trade? (Read Here)