Questions surrounding Sean Payton's future as the coach of the Saints disappeared in a hurry after Payton made it clear Monday that he wants to remain in New Orleans.. The same cannot be said for Drew Brees' future with the Saints.
On Monday, Brees said that he doesn't want to sign a contract extension with the Saints this offseason. Instead, he wants to play out the final year of his deal with the team in 2017.
"Listen, so I signed a one-year extension, so that was this year and then next year," Brees said, per Nola.com. "And so I plan on playing that out and just allowing things to take form and take shape here for next year and putting forth my absolute best effort to help us win a division championship and then a world championship.
"And then, again, just one year at a time, and that's not a lack of commitment or anything like that. It's just, I just want to focus on what's right in front of me."
As Brees himself indicated, that doesn't necessarily mean he wants to leave New Orleans or retire after the 2017 season. But when you combine that quote above with the quote below, you can definitely envision a scenario that doesn't involve Brees playing football in New Orleans after next year.
Brees in our @CoxSportsTV 1on1: "not sure how much longer I can do this, tired of saying next year, next year" #saints— Mike Nabors (@MikeNabors) January 2, 2017
That can be taken a few different ways. One, Brees could be contemplating retirement -- after all, he'll turn 38 this month. Two, Brees might want to switch teams so that he's not stuck on the Saints, who have finished 7-9 in three straight seasons. Three, Brees might've just been emotionally drained at the end of another disappointing year when he made those remarks.
Maybe we're just reading too deeply into his comments, because Brees emphasized that he's not thinking too far ahead.
"I'm just taking it one year at a time, honestly, because I certainly don't want to miss out," he said. "I don't want to overlook any opportunity. I don't want to miss out on any just moment, and I understand that I'm more toward the end of my career than I am the beginning and so time is limited. I can't tell you how long that's going to be.
"I just want to make the most of each moment, each opportunity, each season and don't look any further ahead than just what's right in front of me, and just value that so it doesn't go by too fast."
If he were to hit free agency in a year, he'd likely have plenty of suitors. Despite his age and the Saints' futility, Brees experienced another stellar season, completing 70 percent of his passes for 5,208 yards, 37 touchdowns, 15 picks, and a 101.7 passer rating.