If you haven’t heard already, the New Orleans Saints have secured themselves as playoff contenders for the next few years by giving QB Drew Brees a new deal. The contract is reportedly the highest average yearly salary in NFL history, with $40 million guaranteed this upcoming season. In return, the Saints get a top two QB for at least another 5 years. Although the overall response is positive, some people feel the Saints lost out on this deal. While I do think that it took way too long for the two sides to agree on a contract, I don’t think the Saints gave Brees too much. Let’s take a look at the deal:
The majority of Brees’s money comes from his eye-popping $37 million signing-bonus, which is to be paid in full for the next six months. The bonus is also prorated for next five years, five being the number of years in Brees’s deal. So, Brees gets $7.4 million per year through his bonus. With a big bonus, the Saints could get away with giving him a small salary. To sum all that up, Brees will be a wealthy man and the Saints will have room to “make it rain” when acquiring players in the future.
In year one, Brees makes $10.4 million after having a salary of $3 million. Compared to the franchise tag of $16 .371 million that the Saints had previously on Brees, they have a lot of room to add or retain players. To sum everything up so far, Brees earned $40 million, but only the $10.4 million (salary and prorated bonus) count on the cap.
During the waiver period following this year’s Super Bowl (which will be held in New Orleans), the Saints have three days to release Brees (not likely) and let him walk with the $40 million he’s already collected. If they don’t, a $15 million guarantee activates – $10 million in 2013 and $5 million in 2014. Thus, Brees earns $17.4 million in his second year and has made a total of $50 million so far. Not bad, as the Saints still have room to make moves.
In 2014, the Saints again have to make a decision in three days – let him walk with the $55 million or retain him and allow another $5 million guarantee to activate. Brees also has a salary of $1 million that year, making it the most money earned in three years (the highest technically belongs to Manning after the deal he had with the Colts, but that contract saw Manning never play a down and was terminated) in NFL history. The New Orleans Saints still have the luxury to go out and make several attempts at acquiring players.
Now let’s look at what’s making everyone concerned of the deal: the years 2015 and 2016. In those years, Brees gets $26.4 million and $27.4 million respectively. What said people don’t realize is that the deal was made with the intention of Brees restructuring the final two years, like Brady did a few months ago. The cap will have also grown by then, so there’s a plus.
One word to describe this deal is brilliant; the Saints get enough room to acquire players for the next few years while Brees gets the payday he deserves. Good QBs are highly coveted in what has become a passing league. Elite ones like Brees are in a way gifts from God; they can carry a team to success with minimal help for many years and bring a ton of popularity and fan support to their team (which in-turn leads to more revenue for the team).
As we all know, Brees gets his elite status due to his skill set and past performance. He’s one of the most accurate QBs in NFL history; he’s the only QB to ever complete more than 70% of his passes in multiple seasons (2). He’s a red zone matchup nightmare and delivers a good deal of touch on each throw. Brees is also the NFL record holder for passing yards in a season, one that he broke the previous season. With all the credentials Brees has acquired over the years and the little effect the deal has on the salary cap, it’s clear why the Saints came out on top.
The so-called ”negatives” of this deal were really nonexistent. The Saints needed to keep Brees long-term after all that had transpired and after all the pay-for-performance they’ve given to other players, it’s about time Brees got paid his due. Kudos to both sides, especially the Saints organization for getting this done.