After an offseason full of bad news that seemed to begin the minute a playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers was complete, fans of the New Orleans Saints have been waiting for something positive to happen. The contract situation of quarterback Drew Brees had fans on edge, and while many thought it would be worked out before the July 16 deadline, no one took it for granted. With the way things have been going, the possibility of watching our team take the field without Brees at any point soon felt like the next shoe that was just waiting to drop.
Now, however, fans can finally begin to focus on football again, as Brees and the team have agreed to a new five-year deal that will pay Brees like an elite NFL player. With the contract negotiations now officially in the past, Brees now has a chance to take his leadership role within the team to an unprecedented level as his team prepares to play the 2012 season with head coach Sean Payton serving a one-year suspension.
If anyone deserved a large contract in sports, it was Brees. Since arriving in New Orleans with Payton before the 2006 season, Brees has averaged 4,732 yards and 34 touchdowns each year. By comparison, prior to 2006 no Saints quarterback had ever thrown for 4,000 yards or 30 touchdowns in a single season. Brees, on the other hand, has topped 5,000 yards twice and last season set a career high with 46 touchdown passes. Among New Orleans' career quarterback leaders, Brees already leads Archie Manning by more than 6,000 yards and has thrown 81 more touchdown passes than Aaron Brooks.
Brees now has at least five more years to add to his position as the best quarterback in franchise history. He has already led New Orleans to one Super Bowl victory, but achieving postseason success while leading a team without a head coach would only add to his amazing list of accomplishments. Considering the Saints were one of only a few teams willing to take a chance on Brees six years ago, it feels good as a Saints fan to know that this is where Brees wants to be and that the team is willing to pay him what he deserves.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.