Saints coach Sean Payton might have accidentally revealed when Drew Brees plans to retire

When Drew Brees signed a two-year deal with the Saints last month, the general assumption was that he would play out both seasons in his new contract before possibly retiring. As it turns out though, Brees might be planning to call it quits before he even gets to the second year of the deal. 

That new detail was revealed on Tuesday by Saints coach Sean Payton, who might have accidentally spilled the beans on Brees' future retirement plans during an appearance with ESPN's "Get Up." During the interview, Payton was asked what role he envisioned Taysom Hill playing this year, and that's when the Saints coach dropped the bomb about Brees.  

"The unique situation with our team and with our quarterback, Drew Brees, is he's announced he's coming back for his final season," Payton said. 

Wait, what!?

To be clear, Brees hasn't said anything publicly about this year potentially being his final season, which basically leaves two possibilities here: Either Payton misspoke or Brees personally told the Saints coach that he was going to call it quits after 2020 and Payton just revealed that to the world. 

During a conference call on Wednesday, Payton tried to clarify things slightly. First, the Saints coach called himself "a big dummy" and then he said that he had no idea if Brees would be retiring. 

"That thing blew up on me," Payton said of his comments to ESPN. "I honestly don't know if it's his last year... I think his plan is to take it year by year."

This actually only adds more intrigue to his retirement comments. Although Payton definitely could have misspoke, it's also possible that he feels bad about accidentally revealing Brees' future plans, which could have caused him to backtrack. 

Of course, if Brees does make the decision to retire after the 2020 season, it wouldn't be a total surprise. After all, he spent four weeks this year contemplating retirement before officially announcing on Feb. 18 that he was going to return. One month after the announcement, Brees agreed to terms on a two-year, $50 million contract that was written out in such a way that it definitely made it seem like Brees would be playing football through the 2021 season. 

The deal was actually for four years, but that was only for salary cap purposes. The final two seasons were designed to automatically void so that the Saints could spread out Brees' $23 million roster bonus over four years. 

The contract only includes $25 million in guaranteed money and Brees will be getting all of that in 2020. If Brees were to retire, the Saints wouldn't owe him any of his $25 million base salary in 2021, so the contract is definitely set up in a way that would allow him to call it quits after the 2020 season (To put that in perspective, Tom Brady's two-year contract includes $50 million in guaranteed money, which would suggest that he absolutely plans to play out the entire deal). 

If Payton's correct about Brees' retirement plans, then the 41-year-old quarterback will be hanging up his cleats following the 2020 season. 

By the way, it's been a busy offseason for both Payton and Brees. On Payton's end, he's been making the media rounds over the past week to spread awareness about how important it is to make sure you're social distancing. The Saints coach was diagnosed with Covid-19 in mid-March and later announced that he was "all clear" after a two-week quarantine period. 

As for Brees, he and his wife announced this week that they'll be donating $5 million to the state of Louisiana for relief efforts to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will be used to deliver over 10,000 meals per day to citizens who need it throughout Louisiana. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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