Although Brees is great, the future is not as bright
By: Langston Newsome
While everyone else was concerned this offseason over the Rams move to L.A., Al-Jazeera PED allegations, Joey Bosa’s holdout, and Tom Brady’s suspension (two years too late); I’ve been worried about one thing: September 11. The date was looming with no result in sight. I’ve been in dire straights since the offseason began.
Drew Brees made it clear contract extension talks would not take place once the season began. The Saints could not afford to have Brees reach free agency. Everyone looked forward to the start of the season; I dreaded it like the plague. He is more than just the franchise quarterback; he was the face of the franchise, the face of the city.
Would Brees end up like Jimmy Graham? The Saints stupidly did not pay Graham his worth, in a horrendous move, franchise tagged one of the top offensive tight ends in the league. Would a lack of a long term deal force him out of New Orleans? Pro Bowl caliber center Max Unger, who just received a four-year $27 million contract extension, helped solidify a declining offensive line. But he is no Jimmy Graham dunking on the goal posts; that trade still haunts me to this day.
In ten years with the New Orleans Saints, Brees has posted 48,555 passing yards and 348 touchdown passes. Brees has ten straight seasons over 4,000 yards passing (’06-’15), the NFL record for games over 300 yards (96), second in NFL history single-season passing yards (5,476), and fourth all-time in passing yards (60,903). That is production that the Saints could not afford to lose. But would the New Orleans front office weigh in Brees’ age, 37, and possibly let the undoubted best Saints quarterback ever walk for free?
These questions were in the forefront of my mind all offseason. When former Saint Will Smith was tragically shot and killed in the city of New Orleans; Drew was quick to raise awareness to the violence that was happening in the city. His command as a leader in the organization and city were on full display. When first round draft pick Sheldon Rankins went down with a broken fibula, it didn’t matter. Brees offensively could hold the Saints in any shootout, it didn’t matter if the Saints defense was 31st in total defense last year. We had Drew.
With days left before the season, talks about an extension picked up for the first time in over a month. Saints fans rejoiced when news broke that Drew had been officially signed for the next two years. With $44.25 million guaranteed, Brees is now locked down as the quarterback of the Saints for the immediate future.
But so many questions still hold my mind hostage. What now? The Saints recently waived last year’s third round pick quarterback Garrett Grayson, only to place him on the practice squad. In a summer built off the signing of Brees, i’m even more worried about the future of the franchise. The best-case scenario? The Saints draft a QB within the next year and let him develop under Drew. But the more likely move is the Saints foolishly replicate what the L.A. Rams did and go all in on a QB in the draft. As an organization, I hope the Saints don’t have to endure a Jared Golf, #1 overall pick and inactive week one bust.