The team on Tuesday struck a two-year deal with their star quarterback worth $50 million — including $27 million in guarantees — sources told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Jane Slater. Brees was ranked No. 2 behind Kirk Cousins in NFL.com’s Top 101 Free Agents of 2018.
The deal caps a news-cycle’s worth of speculation over negotiations between Brees and the Saints. Amid reports the Vikingscalled to inquire about the possibility of landing Brees, New Orleans made “significant progress” on a deal during the quarterback’s visit to the team facility on Monday.
“There was no doubt in our minds, I think both myself and the Saints, that we were gonna get a deal done,” Brees told ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “It was just a matter of what was the most fair deal for me and for the team to put us in the best position to succeed in the near future.”
A vocal member of the NFL Players Association, Brees has previously pushed for maximum contract value and told Triplett he would be “lying” to say it wasn’t hard to raise the bar contractually for his fellow players — and his agent, Tom Condon.
“But for me,” Brees said, “this was about putting our team in the best position to go win a championship in the next few years.”
The annual average for Brees falls short of Jimmy Garoppolo‘s $27.5 million per year from the 49ers, but the 39-year-old New Orleans veteran exits with a respectable pact. Brees is worth every penny, showing no signs of decline last season while completing 72.0 percent of his passes and posting a 103.9 rating.
For the Saints, urgency existed to reach an agreement before Wednesday’s start of the league year when Brees would count $18 million against the salary cap minus a new contract. Rapoport last month suggested Brees would net between $20 million and $25 million annually, leaving the passer on the high end of that spectrum.
A franchise centerpiece since 2006, Brees will remain in New Orleans through 2019. There was never any true doubt about where he would wind up, but putting to bed any Brees-related drama allows the Saints to address other needs.
With one of the league’s wildest offenses around, New Orleans — armed with a future Hall of Fame thrower — remains a major threat in the NFC.