His favorite tidbit of advice to a young Padawan of a negotiator was never get nervous about the Dark Side of an unsigned contract until Bastille Day. For those of you who are historically challenged, Bastille Day is July 14, a major holiday in France because it commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789 and the beginning of a revolution that led to a democratic government. The significance to NFL negotiators is that Bastille Day is always a week or so before training camps open, which is when teams ideally want all their players signed. Which is why this year it is even more significant for the Saints because Bastille Day is two days before the absolute deadline for QB Drew Brees to sign or get off the pot of procrastination.
With the off-season workouts now ended, we have less than a month before Bastille Day coincides with D-Day, or decision day for the Brees camp. The face of the Saints franchise can either sign a contract, accept the franchise tag tender or continue this ill-advised impasse. What I would love to see in the next month is for Brees to gather his receivers for a few days of voluntary workouts. That would suggest he will be in training camp and recognizes that a little work beforehand will partly make up for the lost practices he missed during his holdout.
Of course, agent Tom Condon probably would nix such a display, as it would send a message to the Saints that Brees plans to sign, which might discourage GM Mickey Loomis from sweetening his offer one final time. But so what? The dance and posturing are over. It's time to close the gap to whatever final number it will be and get it done. Unfortunately, you can bet that neither side will make that call, at least until Bastille Day.
Jim Miller's new book, "Where the Water Kept Rising," is now available in local bookstores and at his website