Tom Brady is 39 and just a few weeks removed from his latest Super Bowl title. He’s playing so well that there’s no talk of retirement, but of how long he’ll continue to play. And while we don’t have this conversation with the same frequency when talking about 38-year-old Drew Brees, it’s not because he still isn’t playing at a high level but because the Saints haven’t had a winning season since 2013, which is also the last year they made the playoffs.

New Orleans’ struggles are less a reflection of Brees, who ranked second in QB efficiency last season, according to Football Outsiders -- behind only Matt Ryan -- and more to do with the an annually terrible defense. Still, Saints coach Sean Payton knows that Brees can’t play forever, which is why he concedes that the organization is perpetually on the lookout for its next quarterback.

“I think that topic exists and has existed because of the nature of the position,” Payton said to Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn during an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio. “I think we’re in the quarterback business always because they’re so difficult to find. And there’s been a year or two we’re close to drafting maybe a player and he went a little before we were ready to pick. And certainly you pay attention to it when your quarterback’s older.”

Brees signed a two-year, $44.25 million deal last September, which means he’s on the books for one more season (he’ll make $13 million in 2017) before becoming a free agent at age 39. He said in 2014 that he wants to play until he’s 45. Whether he still feels that way is another matter, though the Saints may not be interested in devoting so much of the salary cap to a guy closer to 50 than 25.

For now, Payton acknowledges that no one outworks Brees, and he remains the most integral part of his offense.

“Now, that being said, evaluating Drew and watching him and watching the way he trains and prepares, he’s operating at an extremely, extremely high level,” Payton said. “And today’s elite quarterback, compared to where we were 20 years ago, it’s amazing to see their attention to detail when it comes to detail, but beyond that -- nutrition, sleep, hydration -- all these other elements, we’re just further along in regards to the science of training athletes.

“It’s an extremely important position for the team and we’re fortunate, I’m fortunate, that currently, in our building and on our roster, we have someone that gives us a chance to win each week.”

With a decidedly weak quarterback prospect class -- in addition to needs up and down the defensive roster -- the Saints aren’t expected to draft Brees’ successor this spring.