As of today, the Saints are now 14 days or exactly two weeks away from the deadline to sign Drew Brees to a long term contract extention. Once July 16th hits, if no contract is in place, Brees’ lone option is to decide between sitting out the 2012 season and signing his one year franchise tag offer worth $16.3 million. As Saints fans the obvious hope is that it never gets to that point, because while Brees playing on a 1 year contract is a nice fallback, it’s really not a good situation to be in. Fortunately for the Saints and for the fans, Drew Brees has already conceded at the expense of leverage in negotiations that he wouldn’t sit out if things ever got to that point. Even if he does feel that way, I do think that was a poor decision to share that publicly. That said, we can’t rule out that Brees is still threatening a hold out behind closed doors, while not viewing it as a viable option to the public to gain support.
We’re still waiting on the arbitration hearing to get resolved, which is a huge part of the negotiations. There’s a standstill that can’t be moved on from until a ruling on intepretation has been made. That ruling is supposed to happen…
in the coming days – so we’re hoping this week. Once that roadblock is out of the way, it’s my hope a resolution will come shortly thereafter. Since Brees is choosing not to bluff and threaten a hold out, a favorable ruling on this interpretation is his last trump card. If Brees doesn’t get the ruling he’s hoping for, I do believe he will accept the latest contract offer the Saints have put on the table. If, however, the ruling is favorable to Brees, I do fear the Saints will scramble to formulate a larger offer that may not be to Brees’ liking still – at which point I would grow very concerned that Brees would prefer to take his chances at the possibility of a franchise tag priced at ~$23 million the following year if he didn’t get the guarantees he wanted. This all has a 14 day timeline to get figured out, so it’s unsettling that the two sides don’t even have all the necessary information in negotiations yet. It would be difficult enough to come to an agreement with a 14 day deadline with all of that stuff handy.
Time to buckle up, we’re getting very close to the finish line.