Drew Brees and the Saints have reached a contract on a 5-year, $100 million deal that includes a 1st-year take in 2012 of $40 million, according to league, players’ union and team sources.
For all practical purposes, the assured money is considered by everyone involved to be an NFL-record $60 million, though there are contractual, but unlikely, outs for the Saints before he would receive that entire sum.
The accord was struck in the newest round of talks between Saints GM Mickey Loomis and Brees’ agent, Tom Condon.
“I appreciate the diligence and loyal efforts from both sides to get this deal done,” Brees announced. “I love my organization, team and the city of New Orleans. Thanks particularly to (owners) Gayle and Tom Benson for the chance. Now I need to go earn it.”
Brees’s 2012 salary of $40 million is fully warranted, breaking down as $37 million in bonus and $3 million in income. The contract carries a $10.4 million cap hit.
“Congratulations are in order for our organization, our city, Drew and Brittany and definitely for Mickey Loomis and his staff for all the hard work put in to make this achievable,” Benson recounted in a statement. “Now we must turn our focus to getting ready for the start of training camp and to keeping with our goal of being the 1st team in NFL history to host and play in a Super Bowl.”
In 2013, the Saints will have a 3-day window to allow him to go after the waiver period begins (5 days after the Super Bowl); if not, Brees gets another $15 million of fully guaranteed earnings, bringing his 2 year total to $55 million.
In 2014, the same 3-day waiver scenario is in place before Brees is fully guaranteed another $5 million, with an additional $1 million in income. Under the presumption Brees is the team’s QB for the subsequent 3 years, he would make $61 million during that stretch, with $60 million fully warranted, the highest assured total for an NFL player. Calvin Johnson’s deal with the Lions, signed early on in the year, was at first reported to guarantee $60 million, but another look found it was completely guaranteed for $48.75 million.
While the waiver window gives the Saints an out, both the league and union view the $60 million as “guaranteed” thanks to the intense unlikelihood the Saints would want to have paid Brees $40 million for 1 year or $55 million for 2 years. NFL betting lines
The remaining $39 million to be earned in 2015 and 2016 is subject to the same waiver formula, bringing the potential grand total to $100 million over 5 years. No player in NFL history has averaged $20 million every year. Peyton Manning’s deal with Denver averages a little bit more than $19 million; Tom Brady’s contract with New England Patriots pays him a median of $18 million per season.
Brees must still take a physical and sign the contract, which is considered a mere formality.