After the New Orleans Saints sent tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks on the first day of the 2015 NFL league year, rumors immediately started to swirl around that no one within the Saints organization was safe—even quarterback Drew Brees.
Aside from Peyton Manning, Brees has been the best quarterback in the NFL since arriving in the Big Easy back in 2006. Brees has not had a single season in New Orleans with less than 4,300 passing yards. He has four seasons with over 5,000 yards, including two in a row in 2012 and 2013, both of which are NFL records.
Despite the Saints 7-9 finish in 2014, Brees still had a great statistical season with over 4,900 yards and 33 touchdowns. Of course, with Graham gone those numbers may be dropping a bit in 2015. Needless to say, Brees was shocked to learn that his favorite target had been shipped out to Washington.
“I think it shocked all of us,” said Brees. “A lot of crazy things happened, though, during the course of free agency for a lot of different teams. Unfortunately, you’ve been around long enough, you see some of these things happen at times. If anything it shows the confidence our organization has in the young players, especially the young skill players on offense, just feeling like those are guys that now have a chance to step up and fill a big void and fill a big role and continue to progress forward.”
Brees may be confident in the future of the team, but rumors soon emerged that he may not be a part of that future—instead, the Saints would trade their future Hall of Famer to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 1st pick in the 2015 NFL Draft in order to select Marcus Mariota.
The Bucs aren’t the only team that has sent the Saints an offer for the Pro Bowl quarterback, the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, and Jacksonville Jaguars have all made an effort to obtain Brees so far this offseason. Well, let’s face it: the Saints have no interest in E.J. Manuel, Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, or any other mediocre, unproven quarterbacks teams may offer.
Sean Payton ended those silly rumors:
“We can’t control [the rumors],” Payton said. “What do you do when there’s no truth to any of it? There’s not one, like, iota. So if someone’s written something like that, it’s either been taken out of context completely or just fabricated. I think we’re in an age where we’re seeing a lot of speculative reporting, as opposed to a story.
“And then if a fan’s reading it and they don’t understand it, then, ‘Holy cow, I heard this is gonna happen.’ So that sooner or speculative, whatever you want to call it, reporting can’t affect us.
“There’s no truth to any of that. He’s a part of where we’re going. And we’ve got a number of areas we’ve got to improve on. But his production and where we’ve been able to finish offensively, those things will take care of themselves.”
That’s the bottom line—Drew Brees is an integral part of the future of this franchise moving forward. The trade rumors are all nonsense; but if so many people actually believe it, then it must be at least somewhat plausible, and it is to a degree.
Brees is 36 years old, which means he’s approaching the end of his life as a quarterback; so maybe it’s about time the Saints start planning for the future. What better way to prepare yourself for the next 10 seasons than trading away an established veteran to a desperate team for a high draft pick or a solid young quarterback? Brees may be old; but as shown by the offers the Saints have received, there are a lot of teams out there who desperately need some stability at the position, even if it be for only three or so more seasons.
Brees claims that he’s will play until he’s 45, but there’s a point where the body just can’t keep up with the mind’s high expectations. The Saints aren’t going to have Brees for more than five more seasons, and so they need to decide on the future of the franchise soon:
Do they stick with the quarterback that has brought them years of success, a Super Bowl victory, and hope for the future after the city was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina as he rides out his last few seasons in the NFL? Or do they abandon him with a joke of a franchise for the end of his Hall of Fame career, despite his clear intentions to stay with the city and people of New Orleans?
Maybe there is a point where this game becomes more than just a business.