Brees officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Sunday, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football reports. The writing for Brees hanging up his cleats has been on the wall all offseason, and it's fitting that his official announcement comes 15 years to the date that he initially signed with the Saints. In his career, Brees has earned 13 selections to the Pro Bowl and led the league in passing yards on seven separate occasions, not to mention earning a championship for New Orleans in Super Bowl XLIV (plus game MVP honors). It's all but a given that Brees' next stop will be the NFL Hall of Fame, but the Saints' quarterback position looks more uncertain. The team still has Taysom Hill (knee) under contract, while Jameis Winston is currently scheduled for free agency.
The Saints have renegotiated Brees' contract to open up $24 million in 2021, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football reports. This move allows the Saints to create cap space now, while waiting until June 2 to officially place Brees on the retired list should he ultimately decide to call it a career. The move allows New Orleans to split his bonus prorations in 2021 and 2022 instead of carrying the entire cap hit at once. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports that Brees' contract is now down to base salary. Nothing has officially been announced regarding Brees' future, but this move is seemingly another sign of a likely forthcoming retirement announcement.
Coach Sean Payton told Will Brinson of CBS Sports' "Pick Six Podcast" on Wednesday that he expects Brees to make a decision on whether he'll retire within the next couple weeks. Payton seemed to hint that Brees is headed for retirement, though it's possible the 42-year-old could surprise and choose to return for another season in 2021. The quarterback completed at least 70 percent of his passes for a fifth straight season in 2020, but the Saints once again came up short in the playoffs -- a recurring theme throughout the second half of Brees' career. Payton has been clear about his desire to re-sign Jameis Winston, so the Saints seem to be preparing for a future without Brees.
Brees intends to take his time before deciding whether to return in 2021 or hang up his cleats, Mike Triplett of ESPN reports. Brees, who turned 42 just two days before Sunday's 30-20 loss to the Buccaneers in the NFC divisional round, hasn't yet officially announced a decision about his future in the NFL, but it's been widely speculated that he'll choose to end his storied career this offseason. Such rumblings have only grown louder after Brees' rough three-interception showing against Tampa Bay, a performance which cemented the fact that the aging veteran's arm strength and mobility have noticeably diminished, even if his processing speed remains as acute as ever. If the future Hall of Famer indeed decides to call it a career, Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston could end up competing for the starting job, though only Hill currently is under contract with the Saints for 2021.
Brees completed 19 of 34 pass attempts for 134 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions in Sunday's NFC divisional-round loss to Tampa Bay. Brees was unable to push the ball downfield (3.9 yards per attempt) -- as has been the case all season -- but he had the Saints in position to advance to the next round until he threw his third interception in the fourth quarter that ultimately sealed his team's fate. Tampa Bay's defense came at the future Hall of Famer as advertised, applying pressure with extra rushers and forcing the immobile veteran to get rid of the ball quickly and, at times, inaccurately. The 42-year-old was unable to connect with top wideout Michael Thomas for the first time in a game in which both players played all four quarters during their five years together. Lots of credit for Brees' rough outing should be given to the Buccaneers' defense and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, but the aging quarterback's untimely turnovers put Tampa's offense in very favorable field position on multiple occasions. Rumblings of Brees' potential retirement grew louder after his disappointing play in the season-ending loss, but he remained mum on the subject after the game. If the living legend should return for the 2021 season (he is scheduled to make $25 million in the last year of his current contract), fantasy managers shouldn't let the name on the back of his jersey fool them into thinking he can turn back the clock in terms of production. Brees doesn't possess the arm strength, pocket mobility or deep accuracy he once had in his prime, so expectations should be held in check if he decides to give it another go.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|3 Year Avg||73.3||3304||28||5||5||2||300|