If Drew Brees doesn’t have a long term contract by mid July, then he has a choice to make – 1. sign the 1 year franchise tender or 2. sit out 2012. Drew Brees sitting out the entire 2012 season due to a contract dispuste is not something I’ve been really considering much. Even with the latest Pat Yasinskas of ESPN article bringing that possibility to our collective attention, it’s still not something I view as very likely. Still, I have to recognize based on the progress thus far it’s at least a very remote possibility. Yasinskas is right, it’s the nightmare of all nightmares scenarios, and while extremely unlikely, it’s not impossible. He’s also right that Chase Daniel is a capable backup in spot duty, but he won’t lead the Saints to the playoffs (with or without Sean Payton in my opinion, but it’s certainly even less likely without). Let’s face it, despite all the terrifying news the Saints have faced this offseason, fans have maintained hope for 2012 because of Drew Brees and Drew Brees alone. No Sean Payton for a year? No Mickey Loomis for 8 games? No Joe Vitt for 6 games? No Jonathan Vilma for a year? No Will Smith for 4 games? No problem. As long as we have Drew Brees. No Drew Brees for any amount of time? Forget it.
So how likely is Brees sitting 2012 out?
The day before he got franchise tagged, I would have put it at 0.01%. But with each passing day, that number increases by 0.1%. Not enough to make you truly worried, but certainly enough to make you just slightly uneasy in the back of your mind. If you’re not familiar with the recent article by Yahoo!’s Jason Cole - it sheds some lights into the situation and why the Saints and Drew Brees are far apart in negotiations. It comes down to interpretation of verbiage, and both sides are reading the rules the way it stands to benefit them. If this article is fully accurate, then it seems no contract could possibly get done until the NFL Management Council rules on the interpretation of the rules. No timetable has been set for that, and we can’t be certain they feel any pressure to complete a ruling before mid July – when the Saints and Brees have to complete a long term deal by.
There’s also the possibility that Brees could play under his 1 year franchise deal. No one wants that. The Saints don’t want that, Brees doesn’t want that, and the fans don’t want it. Brees hasn’t gone as far as to say he’d never sign the tender under any circumstance, but he’s also made it pretty clear in the media that it is absolutely not something he wants. After mid July, though, if there is no deal in place, that’s the decision he’ll have to make – live with his 1 year franchise tender or sit out 2012. Let’s hope it never gets to that point, but the clock is ticking.