Sunday, July 15, 2012

And the Who Dat Nation Said Amen

There was never a chance that the New Orleans Saints would not come to terms with their star quarterback, right?

Sure, the San Diego Chargers let him walk after the 2005 season, but Drew Brees never meant to Land of Ron Burgundy that he means to Nola.

And the quarterback is heavily invested here. New Orleans is not only his and his young (and expanding) family’s home but also the locale of his sandwich shop franchise.

My concern throughout the contract process wasn’t Team Brees taking a big bite out of Tom Benson’s ample billfold but the salary cap opportunity cost of a stratospheric deal related to the team’s ability to land future free agents and the frazzled nerves of Saints fans who thought their hero might actually leave.

Brees wanted to avoid the prospect of a one-year franchise tag deal just as much as Saints general manager Mickey Loomis wanted to avoid being known as the football executive who executed the greatest free agent signing in NFL history and the guy who later lost him through a trade demand.

And it turns out the unjustly maligned Saints front office was not the unwilling suitor in the high-stakes contract dance, which made $19,000,000 plus offer.

Brees and his agent wanted more and with the deadline approaching, they got it.

Despite the class warfare and wealth envy that has become en vogue in the American political environment, Saints fans have good reason to be rejoicing over someone else’s good fortune.

In relation to what other NFL players have made, Brees clearly outplayed the contract he signed with the team in 2006. Hopefully Brees will be able to replicate in the next five years what he accomplished in the past six.

Brees has brought more joy to the people of New Orleans than any single person in the city’s history.

He’s earned every penny of his considerable paycheck.

And unlike some professional athletes, Brees is going to keep earning his new bigger paycheck. A second Super Bowl win would lock in the overachiever’s place in Canton on a first ballot.

Being the highest paid player in the league is the MVP award Brees has been denied.

Sports journalists are biased; the free market isn’t.

Though inking Brees to a multi-year deal was a no brainer and the possibility of an accommodation not being reached infinitesimal, failure to do so would have sent the franchise on a downward spiral with rock bottom not hitting for a few seasons to go.

It’s a scary yet unfortunately familiar place.

In a rare exception for Saints fans, this is a “what could have been” situation that was mercifully avoided.

The Saints have not only retained their superstar but the franchise core who possesses a gravitational pull for attracting and retaining talent.

So long as Brees is healthy and taking the snaps, expect the Black and Gold to remain a part of the Super Bowl conversation for the next five years.

The Saints didn't just sign a player; they extended their lease with greatness.

Congratulations on the contract and welcome back number nine.

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