NFL Free Agency Rumors: Drew Brees turned down another $60M deal from mystery team

There is often a false narrative about players taking less that pervades a contract situation, but in the case of Drew Brees it is very much real, with the Saints quarterback taking substantially less than his market value in order to stick in New Orleans. 

Brees inked a two-year deal with the Saints that will pay him $50 million and presumably allow him to retire as a member of the Saints. This wasn't the only deal on the table, according to a report from ESPN's Mike Triplett, who reports there was "at least one other team [who] was willing to give Brees $60 million guaranteed over two years to try and woo him away from New Orleans."

The obvious candidates here? The Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals. The Denver Broncos would also qualify as a candidate -- all three teams fit the bill for clubs who should have taken a bold swing at stealing the Saints future Hall of Fame quarterback away from New Orleans.

Brees flat-out admitted he battled a "hard" decision on whether to take more money and "maximizing his value" for other players (Brees was heavily involved in the last CBA negotiations) versus taking less money and trying to win another Super Bowl with the Saints.

"I'd be lying if I said it [wasn't hard to weigh maximizing his value and raising the bar for other players versus helping the team]," Brees said via Triplett. "Because I know that when any player does their deal, they typically look at the comps and base their deal on those -- and what is 'market value.' ... I'm sure that one of these quarterbacks coming up -- Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins -- is going to set a new mark.

"But for me, this was about putting our team in the best position to go win a championship in the next few years. ... I've made it very clear from day one that I was always gonna be a New Orleans Saint as long as they would have me."

According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, the Saints basically came to Brees and said "hey we're tapped out here" -- it doesn't sound like they gave him an ultimatum, but it does sound like they gave him what they claimed was their best offer.

In recapping the first day of free agency on the Pick Six Podcast, I said there was no chance Brees and agent Tom Condon, notorious for extracting the maximum value from his clients, would sign for $25 million a year when Kirk Cousins was going to be out there getting more. I was dead wrong, but only because Brees did the surprising thing and took less than what his full market value was in order to try and help the Saints win the Super Bowl.

Brees basically apologized to Condon for the decision.

"I love my agent. I think he's the best there is. ... But at the end of the day, my intent was much different in regards to building the team," Brees said.

Per Triplett, Brees also said it "was interesting" to hear what other teams were willing to pay him in open free agency, with Brees and Condon able to negotiate with other teams for the first time since Brees came to New Orleans in free agency 12 years ago.

"I've never had a chance to hear that, except for when I was hurt back in 2006," Brees said. "But in most cases when my agent would begin to open his mouth about another team, I would not even let him finish the sentence."

This is wild stuff. Brees is a stone-cold killer on the field and he's been a stone-cold businessman off the field. But in his last two contracts, he's gone team friendly in order to try and help the Saints win.

It's understandable because, at the age of 39, he likely doesn't want to uproot his family and play for another franchise. The idea of Brees in a Vikings or Cardinals uniform when he's still healthy and playing at his peak is too bizarre to imagine. Clearly it was never close to happening, but that doesn't mean there wasn't an opportunity for him to leave. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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