I always thought Brees’ contract situation resolving itself quickly and amicably was a more than reasonable thing to hope for, but apparently that wasn’t meant to be. I still remain steadfast in my faith that things will get done before the Saints are forced to franchise tag him in 48 hours, and I refuse to buy into the media hype that things are critical for one second until it’s been made official that Brees is tagged. Until that point, everything is just hearsay and postulation. I refuse to even allow myself to be worried until it’s officially time to panic. Still, the latest news that Mickey Loomis allegedly claimed that things were taking so long because Brees is only a “very good” quarterback and not a “great” one dropped the anxiety bomb on all of us. That’s not the news we want to hear. Whether it’s true or not is really beside the point, the more worrisome component of this story breaking is that we’ve reached the point in negotiations where things are getting ugly and personal. Again, as Saints fans I think it was safe to assume it would never get there, and at this point the hope has to be that this dies a quick death.
Jason Cole of Yahoo! is the man who broke this story of Brees being defined by Loomis as “only very good”. Here is my take on this claim, which originated from one of three possibilities:
A. Jason Cole decided to run with a story based on misinformation and partial truths because it made for sensationalized media.
If this is true, shame on him, but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. It certainly puts added stress on the situation because now the organization, players, fans and the media are freaking out and reacting to it. While nothing new, the ethical ploy of the journalist in this possible scenario is questionable at best.
B. Tom Condon, Drew Brees’ agent, leaked this false information in an effort to put pressure on the Saints to cave to their demands.
If this is true, shame on him, but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. Condon, in this possible scenario, would basically be using the media to strengthen his chances at getting his client top dollar. Again, it’s an ethical ploy that’s questionable at best specifically in this case because he’d be perpetuating a false rumor. It’s been reported that both sides are as far as $5 million PER YEAR apart, which is astronomical. Condon could easily have made this move to tigthen the screws. Regardless of whether Loomis said these things or not, leaking private negotiations to the media is weak sauce. Not unheard of, but very questionable ethically.
C. Mickey Loomis actually said those things.
If this is true, shame on him, but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. Seeing a pattern here? There is no way Mickey Loomis BELIEVES that Drew Brees isn’t a “great” quarterback. He’s not that stupid. There is zero chance. So, he either didn’t say it, or he said it and he didn’t mean it. If he said it and didn’t mean it, then he did it in an effort to negotiate down the contract as much as possible in favor of his team. One more time, it’s a ploy that’s questionable ethically, but it’s also done all the time.
So regardless of whether A, B or C are the source of this story… the point is, the business of the NFL is often times ethically corrupt. Not surprising when you consider we’re talking about a lot of money, like the biggest contract in NFL history. Between the media spins, possible lying, half-truths, and absurd claims… each side will say and do what is necessary to get the advantage. Unfortunately for the Saints (and Brees), these negotiations have reached the point where being unethical is starting to be part of the bag of tricks on both sides. The problem for Loomis now is he’s backed into a corner. He either:
A. Admits he said those things about Brees publicly, and the whole city of New Orleans hates him forever.
B. Never says anything and leaves everyone to wonder and question him, which opens him up to criticism for the rest of his career.
C. Denies he ever said those things about Brees publicly, and by doing so admits he thinks Brees IS great which gives Tom Condon leverage in the negotiations.
Not a very good position to be in no matter what, is it? Based on the position this puts Loomis in, it’s almost a little TOO perfect for Brees’ camp to be true. You know? So hopefully the contract gets done in the next 48 hours, and Loomis keeps his mouth shut until the deal is done, at which point he comes out and says Brees is a great QB. That’s pretty much the only way he saves face here without blatantly shooting himself in the foot. But everyone loses if Brees get franchised, including Brees from a financial standpoint, and Brees from a perfoming standpoint because he exposes the team to losing Nicks AND Colston. The franchise tag is the best leverage the Saints have. Hopefully this close to the end neither side decides to go all the way and call each other’s bluff.