|The Saints and Pro Bowl QB Drew Brees are still negotiating terms for a new contract. (Getty Images)|
I was sitting in an office Wednesday morning when I looked up and heard someone on TV ask what the New Orleans Saints should do to replace Drew Brees for mini-camps and OTAs. Well, I have an idea, and it goes like this.
C'mon, people. You don't need a stand-in for Drew Brees because Drew Brees isn't going anywhere for a long, long time. He will play for the New Orleans Saints. He will have a big season. And he may lead the Saints to the playoffs again.
What he won't do is be absent from the lineup in August. What part of that is so difficult to understand?
Geez, talk about panic. It's early June, and so what if the Saints are running a mini-camp without their star quarterback? Drew Brees isn't Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. He doesn't need to be there absorbing a playbook. He knows the Saints' offense better than the head coach knows the Saints' offense, and, in case you're wondering, the head coach is Joe Vitt ... at least for now.
Plus, Brees seemed to do OK a year ago without mini-camps and OTAs. So let's try this again: What's the big deal?
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Yeah, I'd rather have him in the huddle than driving a cab in downtown New York for a Dick's Sporting Goods ad, but get real: Do you honestly believe that New Orleans and Drew Brees won't live happily ever after? Of course, they will. Brees is the face of the franchise and the most important reason the Saints aren't the Aints.
Brees not only gives the Saints credibility; he delivered the franchise's first ever Super Bowl and is coming off a record-breaking season. Basically, he has about as much chance of not gaining a multi-year contract as Tom Brady did two years ago when anxious New England fans wondered why negotiations for a new deal weren't on the fast track.
Because it happens, that's why. What doesn't happen is a team like New England or New Orleans not locking down their best players with big bucks. So Brady signed a multiyear deal, just as Brees will. I don't care what he asks for. I just know that he and the Saints get a long-term deal done, and for all the right reasons.
First of all, he's one of the premier players in today's game. Second, he's the Saints' best player. Third, the Saints absolutely, positively cannot survive without him. Fourth, he made a commitment to the club when things weren't all that terrific with the Saints or the city, and, yeah, New Orleans owes him.
Then, of course, there's Bountygate, and don't tell me that isn't a factor here. It's been a brutal offseason for the Saints and their fans, with coaches and player suspended for an embarrassing scandal that disgraced the franchise and its owner and won't go away. So it's high time we hear something, anything, that pushes the conversation away from Sean Payton, Gregg Williams and Jonathan Vilma.
Announcing a long-term deal that makes Brees a Saint until he retires is the ideal vehicle. Not only would it be a welcome relief from Bountygate; it would give New Orleans fans something to embrace, and I think they need it. In fact, I know they do.
Look, Drew Brees IS the New Orleans Saints, and he's not going anywhere for his next job but the Superdome. He and the Saints will agree to a new deal, shake hands and go back to work. Simple as that. It happened with Brady, and it will happen here. Which is another way of saying: Don't pay attention to angst-ridden fans when they ask whom the Saints should bring in to quarterback their club because Drew Brees will quarterback their club.
For years and years.
Reports vary on how far apart the two sides are, but big deal. This isn't a race. There are two months before the Saints suit up for their first preseason game, which means there are two months to get something accomplished.
So let Chase Daniel quarterback the first team. Heck, let Darren Sproles quarterback the first team, I don't care. Drew Brees will be back to stay, and I don't give a rip if it's sooner or later. I just care that it happens, and it will.