Drew Brees with his tongue outDrew Brees was hit with the franchise tag by the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, despite having made it clear that that's not what he wanted. So what happens now? Well, according to CBSSports.com's Rapid Reports, Brees gets really mad.
Drew Brees is "livid" about being franchise tagged and not receiving a long-term contract, according to WIST-AM in New Orleans. The radio station cites sources in the Brees camp that he will not sign the franchise tag deal. Brees and the Saints have until July 15 to hammer out a long-term deal.
My two immediate reactions:
1) Of course he's livid.
2) He'll get over it.
The franchise tag means that Brees will remain a Saint for one year at a pre-determined salary number. In bad news for Brees, the number is calculated differently now than it has been in years past. Last year, a quarterback with the franchise tag made the average of the top five highest-paid players at his position -- in 2011, it was over $16 million. This year, with the new calculations, it's $14.4 million.
I do believe that it's a ridiculous thing for the Saints to do, and I don't understand why they're antagonizing Drew Brees, who is pretty much the franchise savior. But it's also way too early to accuse the Saints of having made any kind of major mistake, either. Only about a million times in NFL history has a player said he was offended by a contract offer and then gone on to sign a long-term deal with the same team that insulted him so harshly.
The Saints still have until July 15 to make that happen. That's plenty of time for wounds to heal, people to calm down and to get a deal worked out.
I just can't picture the Saints ‒ even with as poorly as they've handled this so far ‒ doing something as insane as letting Brees go. There are currently, what, two other guys that can do for a team what Brees can do for a team? He is, by any definition of the word, elite. He can make a bad team a good team. Guys like that should, and usually do, get the gigantic paychecks.
But let's not ignore pessimism completely. If Brees wants, he can refuse to sign the franchise tag offer, and hold out. Maybe the Saints never wake up, and maybe that happens, and they get a taste of life with Chase Daniel as the starting quarterback. (Note to Saints fans: If you enjoyed 1984 through 2005, you'll love Chase Daniel.) Or maybe no long-term deal can be worked out, and Brees plays one season under the franchise tag and then walks.
So things aren't great at the moment, but it's a little early to declare this a disaster, either. I just have a hard time believing that the Saints would screw up a decision that seems like it should be so easy.
Gracias, Big Lead Sports.
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