Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have agreed to a new two-year deal worth $50 million, with $27 million guaranteed, a source confirmed to ESPN, keeping the future Hall of Famer off the free-agent market as expected.
The news was first reported by NFL Network.
Brees’ deal will be written as a two-year deal, but in actuality it will be a one-year deal with a team option after the first year, per source. It also will include a no-trade clause, virtually ensuring that Brees finishes his career in New Orleans.
Brees, who turned 39 in January, insisted all along that he wants to be a “Saint for life” and didn’t plan to let any other teams in on a bidding war — even though had he done so, he possibly could have become the highest-paid player in NFL history for the second time in his career.
“I love my team and am excited about the opportunity we will have together,” Brees said.
Brees’ decision to stay in New Orleans became even easier after the Saints re-emerged as Super Bowl contenders last season following a three-year playoff drought. Thanks to a revamped defense and improved running game, Brees was able to throw for his fewest yards (4,334), touchdowns (23) and interceptions (eight) in his 12 seasons with the Saints while setting the NFL record for completion percentage (72.0).
The Saints, however, have made it clear that they want to take things one year at a time with Brees’ contract at this stage of his career — especially since they still have $18 million in dead money from his previous contracts waiting to hit the books. All of that money would have hit this year’s salary cap if Brees hadn’t signed a new deal by March 14.
The Saints also weren’t allowed to use the franchise tag on Brees because of a clause in his most recent contract.
This is now the second time that Brees has signed a short-term extension with New Orleans, after he signed a one-year, $24.25 million extension before the start of the 2016 season. And this is the fourth contract Brees has signed with the Saints overall — starting with his six-year, $60 million deal in 2006 that turned around the franchise’s fortunes when they took a chance on him after he suffered a major shoulder injury with the San Diego Chargers.
Brees then led the Saints to their first and only Super Bowl title during the 2009 season and became the first $20 million man in NFL history with a five-year, $100 million deal in 2012.
He has thrown for 58,097 yards and 408 touchdowns with the Saints — the most by any quarterback in any 12-season span in NFL history. He is on pace to pass both Peyton Manning and Brett Favre in 2018 to become the NFL’s all-time passing yardage leader.
Brees needs 1,496 yards to break Manning’s record of 71,940. He needs 52 more touchdown passes to break Manning’s NFL record of 539.