It seems crazy.
On one side you have a player that has performed statistically off the charts throughout his last contract and is best in the league at this point.
On the other side you have a franchise that is desperate for anything remotely close to good news to shift the tide of negative publicity.
Yet we stiil have no deal. And we are reaching the point where people are hurling accusations at the team for being unwilling to pay their franchise player. There is suspicion that the team may be attempting this as some type of retribution for Brees supporting the players during the lockout. There is also complaints of Drew Brees raw greed making the negotiation process impossible.
While all of these things may be true, something feels like this particular stalemate is not about money... Its about survival.
Money is important. He doesn't want to get stuck without a contract and play on a franchise tag. The last time he did that, it almost ruined his career. So his holding out for more security is plausible.
But deep in the back of his mind, he has to know the ultimate fate of a New Orleans Saints quarterback this year. The bounty scandal resonated not only through the press but through the league this year. With special emphasis on the effects of concussions and career ending injuries on former players, New Orleans couldn't have had a worse time for their bounty system to be exposed. Images of former players who committed suicide and others who are suing because they feel their injuries are unbearable, plague the minds of players today. And now, fair or unfair, New Orleans has become the poster child of cause.
This upcoming season, the Saints will yet again have to take the field. This time they will likely have to deal with some on field justice. Teams and players will deny it vehemently, but Drew Brees is not an idiot. He knows it's coming. He also knows other teams have no real way to take out their frustrations on the defense. They will all be coming for him.
While it is true that defenses coming for quarterbacks is not a new phenomenon, this renewed and special sense of motivation will make defenses especially fierce and especially dirty when no one is looking. Drew Brees is willing to work with the viciousness of the game during legal plays. But in the back of his mind, he has to be concerned that players who want a moment of vigilante fame and don't care about the consequences are going to start taking shots when he's vulnerable.
So what does he do? He can't jump up and say, "They're going to be mean to me." But the concerns are legitimate.
His only option is to instruct his agent to ask for whatever amount of money he is sure the team cannot afford and then sit back and let someone else take the beating.
It is possible that he would sit back and watch for a few games, then sign on when he felt the worst was over. Or he could even sit out the season and sign with the Saints the following season. But with his skills, his marketability, and the terrible position the Saints have allowed themselves to end up in, it is very possible that Drew Brees has thrown his last pass as a member of the New Orleans Saints.