If there’s one thing that the Peter Chiarelli taught us during his mostly successful tenure as Bruins GM that ended badly, it’s that you don’t hold onto players from a championship team just for the heck of it. The New Orleans Saints will also have to learn that lesson the hard way.
This season, both Drew Brees and all of the Saints’ dead contracts will each take up $30 million in cap space. That’s right, the Saints are paying $60 million off the top for a single player. They also finished last season with a 7-9 record and a Pythagorean win expectation of just 6.5 wins, and then proceeded to make Coby Fleener their chief free agent signing.
The Saints aren’t going anywhere, and there is zero reason to keep rolling out the same team. They signed Sean Payton to a 5 year extension today, which is totally understandable because he’s such a great coach, but it’s a signal that they’re not moving on from the pipe dream of turning back the clock to 2009. If the Saints want to keep Payton, that’s fine, but they need to trade their star quarterback.
Drew Brees just turned 37, and he had a better season at age 36 than age 35. There is no better time to trade an aging quarterback with a $30 million cap hit — and that’s before you remember that NFL teams need quarterbacks like fish need water.
There’s a poker game/bidding war for Colin Kaepernick that involves multiple teams right now. Kaepernick was a fine quarterback in 2012, but it’s impossible to know if he can still be that guy. At least we know that Brees was a hell of a QB just a few months ago, and while his production will obviously continue to slip in his late 30s, he has far more of a chance to play for a Super Bowl contender than Kaepernick, Ryan Fitzpatrick, or Robert Griffin III.
If the Saints were to trade Brees and therefore eat a large chunk of the dead money on his contract, they could trade him for a king’s ransom. For example, the Rams have a lot of cap space left, the 15th overall pick, and a pair of 2nd round picks. They also are set to begin their time in the country’s 2nd biggest market with Case Keenum as their starting quarterback. Don’t you think they’d be smart to trade a lot for Brees? They have a great defense and awesome young running back, and some defenses on their slate of opponents this season include the Seahawks and Cardinals twice each, the Patriots, Jets, Bills, and Panthers. How in the world are they going to make the playoffs with Case Keenum at QB? But if they got Brees, suddenly they’re a Super Bowl contender.
I can’t understand why the Saints aren’t trading Drew Brees to the highest bidder. They’re just going to waste away in mediocrity because they’re so fond of the memories of 2009. What they don’t realize is that, if they refuse to revamp their roster, there will be no memories of these years if they continue to finish 7-9.