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Source: Saints, Brees deal going down to mid-July deadline

The SportsXchange

Even with the broken right thumb sustained this week by backup Chase Daniel, an injury that left New Orleans with only two functional quarterbacks -- Luke McCown and Sean Canfield -- for the final day of the club's minicamp, Saints' officials weren't exactly burning up the phone lines checking out potential training camp arms.

And it was only partly because the Saints expect they'll have a deal in place with "exclusive franchise" quarterback Drew Brees when they report to camp in late July.

"No, there's really no one out there better than the guys we have," said one New Orleans official. "Maybe if it gets closer to camp, we'd add a guy, but not now."

There are two key dates looming in the Brees case -- June 27 and July 16 -- but even in a league that principally operates with a deadline mentality, word from both sides is that there has been no substantial movement in negotiations.

On June 27, an arbitrator will hear arguments to ascertain how many times Brees has been tagged with the franchise marker -- he was also designated by San Diego in 2005 -- in a case that will only have bearing if the quarterback doesn't sign a long-term contract and the Saints are forced to use the franchise tag again next year. The July 16 date is the more significant of the two, because that's the deadline for signing franchise players to multi-year contracts.

After July 16, Brees is limited to a one-year contract.

The consensus from the two sides in conversations with The Sports Xchange, is that nothing will be finalized until next month.

Said one person close to the talks: "I wouldn't call it acrimony, not by any means. It's more like intransigence. Both (sides) have dug in and really haven't budged a whole lot."
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