Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play this game. He’s in that 6-10 range all time and maybe if the Saints had some better playoff success over the last few seasons, he might be in the top 5.
Maybe. But the Saints stink.
Between 2008-2011, the Saints made the playoffs three times including a Super Bowl win in 2009. They also never finished below .500. The Saints had one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL. You head down to the dome, it’s very likely you getting 40 points dropped on you like it’s nothing. Brees also won 2 OPOY awards (’08 & ’11) as well.
But in the 4 seasons since they have only made the playoffs once (2013) and finished 7-9 in each of the other 3 seasons. And that’s no fault of Drew Brees of course. With the exception of 2013, the Saints defense’s has been just as bad as the Saints offense has good. Hell, in 2015 that defense gave up almost 30 points a game. And it’s not like Brees is exactly surrounded talent offensively. Brandin Cooks is nice, but everyone else is just a product of Brees.
Brees has averaged 5,040 yards and almost 37 touchdowns a season since 2012 and doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down anytime soon.
Unless a contract extension gets done before the season starts, Brees is going to have a cap hit of $30m in 2016 and if the Saints elected to franchise tag him in the offseason, his 2017 cap hit would be $43.2m. I doubt we’ll see any NFL team spend that kind of money one player. From all accounts, it seems like the Saints and Brees are closing in on a new contract.
The NFC South currently belongs to the Carolina Panthers. The first back to back division winner in the NFC South, the Panthers have won the division every year since 2013 including going 15-1 last season. All of their core players are young and will be around for years to come. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted their franchise quarterback in 2015 and are working to build around him after a promising rookie campaign. For all the issues that Falcons have, at least you can see their head coach has a plan and they are trying to establish a culture change. Say whatever you want about Matt Ryan, but Julio Jones and Davonta Freeman are studs. Brees feels like he has a lot of good years left, but father time is forever undefeated. All the other NFC South teams are building towards the future but what are the Saints really accomplishing by keeping Brees around? Letting him pad his Hall of Fame resume? That would make sense. He’s already got his ring, might as well just climb up the all-time statistical leaderboards. That’s smart.
This isn’t crazy talk. It’s sure as hell not a hot take. The Saints have a shit ton of problems right now and they aren’t contending for a damn thing anytime soon. The Saints run defense was a fucking doormat in 2015. Their pass defense was swiss cheese. Cameron Jordan accounted a third of the Saints sacks in 2015. He had 10. And while that’s a respectable number, he still had a third of the entire sack total. 30 sacks.
The front office had the opportunity to get rid of Sean Payton in the offseason and they decided to keep him. The glory years are over man. The Saints aren’t going to sniff another Super Bowl anytime soon. Of course, Ryan Pace isn’t going to trade Drew Brees even though they could definitely get a first round (and then some) for him since the Eagles got a first round pick and a fourth round pick for Sam Bradford.
This wasn’t written to knock Drew Brees. This is more about the incompetency of that front office in putting the adequate pieces around Drew Brees. It’s obvious as hell he can still play at a high level. But it’s not fair at all to ask him to carry a bottom 3 NFL defense with average skill position players, no running game and an inconsitent offensive line.
But hey, I guess as long as you keep Drew Brees you know you’re going to sell tickets and at least go 7-9.