Drew Brees was thought of as damaged goods was at one point in time. Having his best season to date for San Diego in 2005, Brees tore his labrum in his throwing shoulder the last game of the season. With then backup Phillip Rivers already in place, this injury made the decision for the Chargers, as they decided to let Brees test free agency. And from there, Brees was left in limbo. Would teams hold his shoulder injury over him or would someone give him a chance. The lowly New Orleans Saints, who had been struggling to get some consistent quarterback play, were willing to take a chance on Brees and his surgically-repaired shoulder and signed him to a six-year, $60 million contract. And from there, the pairing of Brees and Saints coach Sean Payton became great. The Saints became a prolific offense and even won the Super Bowl in the 2009 season. But eventually good things have to come to an end.
The Saints have been struggling over the last few years and they are also in salary cap purgatory. The one person that is eating up most of that cap going into next season is quarterback Drew Brees. Of course he is the face of the franchise, but at one point does that cap number become too much? Next season, Brees will count for a cap hit of at least $30 million. No team can rebuild and field a good team with that massive a hit by one player in this era. So with Brees aging and the team breaking down around him, is it realistic that he could be playing somewhere else next season? The possibility of him taking an extension to spread that money out over some years is there, but there have been no indications either way. So the possibility of the greatest quarterback in Saints history playing in another uniform next year is real this offseason. If the Saints want to move forward, they unfortunately have to make a tough decision about Brees. This past offseason, they had to get rid of All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham because the cap was so bad. The cap issue is not going away unless they do something right now. And Brees unfortunately is going to be the casualty this time if he does not come to some kind of agreement with the Saints on an extension.
If Brees is indeed on the market, then there will be a few teams that will look to add his services. One team that could be an interesting addition for him would be the New York Jets. They got solid play from Ryan Fitzpatrick this past season. But honestly, there is not many that even expected him to play as well as he did. Needless to say, there is not many that will expect him to play the same way he did next season, should he be in New York. With Brees in that offense, the quarterback play goes to another level for the Jets. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker become even scarier as a tandem with Brees, but he will also help that third or fourth wide receiver become a weapon as well. And the pressure the Jets’ defense feels each game would be less because they could depend on the offense, led by the veteran signal-caller. Of course the Jets would have to make some sacrifices in regards to some players on their team now, but it would be worth it for them to do so just to have a shot at a Super Bowl. But the Jets are not the only team that could use a guy like Brees. A team that has a ton of cap space that could add him would be the San Francisco 49ers. One possible scenario for the 49ers would be getting Sean Payton as their new head coach and using the multitude of picks they have to trade for Brees as well. His insertion to that team does not make them a Super Bowl contender, but it does make them a team that can contend for a playoff spot potentially. Also, his insertion to that team does not cripple their cap space, as they will still have money to pay other players to come there to play. And another thing he could add to the 49ers is someone who could potentially tutor a young quarterback if they are to add one in the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Saints are on the clock and a decision has to be made in terms of Brees. And from the outside looking in, it may be the end of Brees in New Orleans. The ride the Saints and the veteran quarterback have had together has been very successful. But with Payton potentially on his way out and the team in salary cap trouble, it may be time for the Drew Brees era to end in New Orleans. And when that officially happens, you better expect many contenders to be lined up and ready to acquire his services.