Drew Brees’ contract negotiations have now taken an important step in a resolution, but the most recent news isn’t very good for the Saints. Arbitrator Stephen Burbank, per Chris Mortensen of ESPN, has ruled in favor of Brees and counts this franchise tag as Brees’ second (the first being with the Chargers). Next year would be his third, then, if he’s tagged again, which by rule would inflate his salary 144% up to $23.5 million for one year. That’s significant because it gives Brees inflated numbers to work with as he’s justifying the asking price for his long term deal.
The Saints attempted to argue…
that the vague wording of the NFL rules suggested that a player getting tagged was only in reference to them getting tagged by one team. With this ruling the Saints will now likely have to up their offer to Brees because Brees is now sitting on $23.5 million next season, worse case scenario, if a long term deal doesn’t get finalized. The most recent contract offer the Saints extended to Brees was between $20 million and $21 million per yer. Now that he’s in line with another franchise tag next season to make $23.5 million, Brees’ agent Tom Condon will use that to justify his original asking price. We’re not entirely sure what Brees wants, it was once reported to be as high as $23 million per year, but more recently it’s been suggested in might be closer to $21.5 million per year. There’s no question part of the dispute is over how much guaranteed money Brees would get in the first three years of the deal, too.
While this ruling removes another roadblock in the process, it perhaps creates another by giving Brees more leverage. As a reminder, the deadline is still July 16th for a long term deal to get done.