Drew Brees agrees to third deal with Saints after prolific decade with team
METAIRIE - Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints waited until the 11th hour. But they finally agreed to contract extension Wednesday, according to league sources -- four days before the quarterback's self-imposed Week 1 deadline.
The extension will be announced as a five-year deal but contains an automatic void to two years, sources told ESPN's Ed Werder, meaning?Brees is contractually committed to Saints for this season and next only.?His $20 million salary this season and $24.25 million for next season -- a total of $44.25 million -- is fully guaranteed, the sources said.
The deal also includes a no-trade clause and forbids the Saints from using their franchise tag on the quarterback. In essence, the Saints get Brees under contract for one additional season but by spreading the contract over five years they significantly reduce Brees' $30 million cap hit for 2016, which was the highest for any player in NFL history.
This is now Brees' third contract with the Saints after he originally signed with the team in 2006. In 2012, he became the then-highest paid player in NFL history with a five-year, $100 million contract.
Brees was headed into the final year of his previous contract, with a league-high salary-cap cost of $30 million.
His decade in New Orleans has been the most prolific run of any quarterback in NFL history. His 48,555 yards and 348 touchdown passes are the most of any quarterback in any 10-year span, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Brees has won exactly 100 games with the Saints -- including the only Super Bowl victory in franchise history, a 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts after the 2009 season.
It's possible that Brees could pass Peyton Manning for No. 1 on the NFL's all-time passing yardage (71,940) and passing touchdown (539) lists before his next deal is up. He's on pace to do so within 3 to 4 years.
Brees ranks fourth in NFL history with 60,903 passing yards and will likely pass Dan Marino for third in Week 2. He andTom Brady are tied for third in NFL history with 428 touchdown passes.
And he is still thriving at age 37. Brees has led the NFL in passing yards in four of the past five seasons -- including last year when he threw for 4,870 yards in just 15 games played.
Re-signing him was easier said than done for a Saints team that has been spinning its wheels at 7-9 in each of the past two years, stretching the salary cap to its limits.
Re-upping with Brees signals a desire to get back into playoff contention quickly, rather than going into a full rebuilding mode. Because of Brees' age, the length of his contract and the total amount of guaranteed money was expected to be a sticking point in negotiations between Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and Brees' agent, Tom Condon.
Brees is expected to hold his weekly interview session with the media Wednesday afternoon -- as the Saints also go about the business of preparing for their home opener Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.