If there has been a method to the New Orleans Saints' madness this offseason, I haven't seen it. The Saints front office has played hardball with the greatest player in franchise history to the point that the NFLPA and an arbitrator have gotten involved. Tuesday's ruling on Drew Brees' franchise tag status certainly favors the Saints quarterback.
The independent arbitrator was ruling on whether Drew Brees' 2012 franchise tag designation from New Orleans counted as his first or second. To me, this seemed like an open and shut case as Brees had received the franchise tag from the San Diego Chargers in 2005.
What makes this minor detail actually a major point is that if New Orleans plans on putting the franchise tag on Drew Brees again in 2013, the Saints would owe him $23 million. This means the Saints no longer have anything to gain long-term financially by putting the franchise tag on Brees.
Whenever high profile athletes quibble over eight-figure salaries, many fans like to claim the players are greedy and if they were in that position, they'd take any million dollar offer from the team. In the case of Drew Brees, it's about the Saints respecting the man most responsible for season ticket sellouts, merchandise sales and a Super Bowl win.
Drew Brees remembers what happened the last time he played an NFL season under the franchise tag. He suffered a career threatening shoulder injury and didn't know if his playing days were over. New Orleans needs Brees to focus on reading defenses and finding open receivers instead of worrying about getting hurt under a one year franchise tag.
Tom Benson and Mickey Loomis
If nothing else, Saints owner Tom Benson and general manager Mickey Loomis are excellent businessmen. Putting the franchise tag on Drew Brees kept him in New Orleans and allowed him to be paid $16 million in 2012. However, the arbitrator's ruling will force the Saints to come up with a new strategy.
I believe the Saints will get back to the negotiating table with a better offer for Drew Brees. New Orleans will not want to face the ramifications of Brees getting the franchise tag for a third time in 2013. There are now 13 days until training camp, Mr. Loomis. It's time to do the right thing.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of the New Orleans Saints. Patrick's favorite Saints season was 2009 when New Orleans won Super Bowl 44. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
PFW staff, "Report: Arbitrator rules in favor of Brees," yahoo.com
Bradley Handwerger, "Independent arbitrator rules in favor of Drew Brees," wwltv.com
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