Brees was absent, though, during the franchise’s darkest days during this past offseason. The Saints were linked with a disgusting scandal that focused on a supposed pay-for-pain bounty system that spanned the past four seasons — including their 2009 title.
After holding out from all team activities this offseason due to a contract dispute, Brees finally got his big payday on Friday to the tune of $100 million. That’s a big chunk of change for any professional sport — although maybe less so in baseball these days — and actually accounts for the single largest deal in NFL history.
The $100 million figure itself doesn’t account for that record, rather it was the $60 million that the Saints guaranteed Brees in the five-year deal that broke down all prior barriers. The unworldly figure far exceeds any previous guaranteed amount in the league’s 92-year history, surpassing Calvin Johnson‘s $48.5 million guaranteed, which was signed earlier this offseason.
While the figure is impressive, the deal itself is the most important aspect of the signing. It’s not just Brees record-breaking quarterbacking — throwing for an NFL record 5,476 yards in 2011 — that is key for the organization. Rather it’s Brees’ presence in the Saints locker room that is really vital to any reasonable chance at success, especially after the amount of turmoil, heartache and loss the organization has been through since the start of the new year.
The suspensions of head coach Sean Payton (entire season), assistant coach Joe Vitt (six games), GM Mickey Loomis (eight games), defensive end Will Smith (four games) as well as defensive captain and middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma (entire season) have hit the Saints hard and will continue to pose a significant threat in their attempt to return to Super Bowl contention in 2012. But with Brees back at the helm, both physically and emotionally, the Saints will undoubtedly be back in the playoff mix.
Brees’ contract alleviates plenty of pressure off of Saints owner Tom Benson and his staff, as a future, nevermind a season, without the face of the franchise would be devastating — especially this year. No amount of wins will erase the Saints franchise’s guilt in the bounty scandals, but a dedication to winning and unwavering focus will go a long way in dismissing the attached perception.
Drew Brees may now be $100 million richer, but the Saints will clearly be the ones benefiting most from the deal in the end.
I don’t think Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby deserved this type of reception at Madison Square Garden.
“It was just money, that’s all it was, a couple hundred thousand [dollars].”
— Running back Brandon Jacobs on why he didn’t return to the New York Giants
A postgame concert is always a good way to fill a stadium, but Train? Eh, not so much.
Holy cow. Train covers Journey songs? Really? Maybe if I bang my head on the laptop hard enough I’ll lose consciousness
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) July 14, 2012
You stay classy, Lakers fans!