Brees, Moore Go to Indy for Luck, Mathis, Draft Picks
It will go down as either the day the New Orleans Saints franchise began to die or the day it was reborn, though in the opinion of one longtime NFL observer, it was a move both teams needed to make.
Reports have spread the organization has traded franchise quarterback Drew Brees and wide receiver Lance Moore to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for their starting quarterback Andrew Luck, Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis and their First (24th overall) and Third (86th overall) round selections in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Also as part of the agreement the Saints will swap fourth round picks with Indianapolis. New Orleans will send over their 109th overall selection for the Colts’ 122th overall pick. Neither team has a pick in the second round, with New Orleans losing theirs as part of the NFL’s punishment for the team’s alleged bounty scandal while Indianapolis sent its second round selection to Miami as part of a previous trade.
Though the move will comes as a shock to the Black and Gold faithful. In addition to his and his wife Brittany’s charity work throughout Katrina ravaged New Orleans, the future Pro Football Hall of Famer is the most popular figure in the entire state of Louisiana.
“Brees isn’t just a great player; he is the franchise,” said NolaFootball.com managing editor Danny Tompkins. “Nobody did more to not only turn the organization around but raise the spirits of the city as well. I understand the reasons for (the trade) and I think the Saints got great value considering what they gave up. I just don’t think I could have pulled the trigger.”
Longtime Indianapolis sports writer L. Bridge Gerry also was floored by what is being touted as the greatest sports trade of all time. “After losing Peyton (Manning), the franchise just hasn’t been the same. Sure, Andrew (Luck) is great. Brought the team to the playoffs in his first season, but number 18’s cleats are too big for him to fill,” said Gerry. “Brees on the other hand can bring us to the next level this season.”
Brees is no stranger to Indiana. Having spent four years with the Purdue Boilermakers, Brees set team and Big Ten records that still stand. Last year, Purdue’s trustees voted to name their student-athlete study center after the Breeses, who had donated $2,000,000.00 for its construction. Brees’s following in Indiana is so strong that Lafayette, IN is the only city north of the Mason-Dixon line that is part of the Saints radio network.
Sports financial analyst Garret Hobart echoed Tompkins’s comments about both the painfulness of the decision to move Brees but the necessity as well.
“Clearly the Saints were not making big splashes in free agency. The nine-figure contract was too me much for the team to swallow,” said Hobart, referencing Brees’s then-record setting $100,000,000.00 contract. “The front office was in a pickle; how do you not sign your team’s greatest player ever but then how can you live with a contract that essentially prevents you from fixing the worst ever defense?”
Hobart pointed out that with $40,000,000 of salary cap gap and a young team, the Colts was the logical suitor for Brees. “His history with Purdue is huge. He’s certainly one of the greatest players of all time and he’s the only person who could come close to plugging the hole Manning left,” said Hobart.
The Saints pick up a proven defensive playmaker in Mathis, who will put pressure on opposing quarterbacks that was lacking for the Black and Gold. Mathis racked up 8 sacks last season. In Luck, the Saints have their young quarterback of the future and can now afford to buy him some protection at tackle with the new cap space.
Though popular with local fans, Moore helped sweeten the deal for the Colts. With his steady hands making him a favorite target of Brees, Moore will also help the Colts as a potential punt return option.
Though the neither team’s front office have confirmed the trade, player Twitter accounts flared up late Easter evening as news began to spread about Brees’s departure for the north.
“I feel numb,” tweeted tight end Jimmy Graham. “All I can say is April Fool’s”.
The rest of this story is filler in the event you scanned to the very bottom of this write-up to verify that it is a prank and not an actual story. That said I bet that a bunch of people won’t bother reading to the end and will simply stop reading after a few paragraphs. But to really mix things up I am going to throw in a few other quotes from players.
Defensive end Will Smith, one of the longest tenured players on the team, also tweeted his bewilderment with the news of the Brees trade. “I feel like someone dropped a piano on me,” tweeted Smith.
Defensive captain Jonathan Vilma, expressed his best wishes to Brees. The Saints quarterback publicly backed his teammate throughout the Saints bounty scandal.