The fact that the Saints have not extended QB Drew Brees’ contract raises some interesting questions. Brees’ cap number in the contract’s final year is $30 million, which represents around 19 percent of the team’s total cap. Brees’ number includes $20 million in salary and a workout bonus that could be spread out in an extension, which has appeared to be the likely scenario this off-season. But consider what would happen if the Saints forego an extension and carry the bigger number this year? That raises three interesting scenarios, two of which would increase Zantac sales in Who Dat Nation! Scenario No. 1: The Saints are willing to bite a rather large bullet in order to get Brees’ money off the books totally. That would bring the team out the Salary Cap jungle in which they have been operating the past few years, trying to keep what they believed was a good team intact. That belief hasn’t been supported by the evidence. A good team doesn’t miss the playoffs three of four years between 2012-2015. Of course, this scenario means the Drew Brees era in New Orleans will likely end after the 2016 season. The Saints might have decided to have more cash to improve other areas while they hand the reins to another quarterback. I don’t see this Saints organization doing what previous administrations tried to do with retreads such as Jim Everett or Wade Wilson, which means they either are comfortable that Garrett Grayson is the guy or that they see the future in a new face such as Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly in 2017? Scenario No. 2: The club wants to get a deal done, but agent Tom Condon doesn’t see Brees’ value declining in future years. If the Saints hold fast, Condon will likely try to shop Brees and hope for a happy landing elsewhere as he did when the Colts cut his client Peyton Manning. This scenario sounds much like the first as the team will be looking for a new quarterback next year. Scenario No. 3: The team and agent are still working on the deal to tie up Brees for another two years or longer. This is the scenario that gives Who Dat Nation the best chance to breathe easier. But keep in mind, Brees will be 40 years old or older at the end of an extension. How long can he defy the gravity of age and injury? You’ll know if this is the right scenario by training camp. Brees and Coach Sean Payton are saying all the right things now, but sentiment is constantly sacrificed by the business of football. If nothing has been done by opening day, then re-read Scenario No. 1.
I noticed with some humor that the Saints have signed on with WGSO, 990 AM to broadcast their 2016 games in Spanish. Our attempts to do the same thing in the late 1980’s provided one of my favorite stories of the Finks-Mora era. Our intrepid Marketing director, Greg Suit, came to us one day and said the local Spanish station wanted to broadcast our games. Of course, they wanted to pay us in pesos, which meant it was more of a community service than a money maker. The representatives of the Spanish-speaking station claimed in those days that about 75,000 Spanish-speaking listeners in the metro area tuned in to their broadcasts. The census records did not back up those numbers, although since Hurricane Katrina, U.S. Census records show the Hispanic population as over 100,000. So we agreed to the deal, and the station went about hiring a broadcast crew. I do not remember the names, but the station’s general manager was going to call play-by-play while he was proud to report that a former LSU placekicker would provide the color. The kicker had a Spanish surname, which seemed to add credibility to the broadcast, so things seemed to be in place. Then came the first broadcast. As it was reported to us later by the station GM, he could tell immediately something was amiss. “What is it,” Suit asked him. “Doesn’t the kicker know football?” “Oh, he knows football,” the GM answered. “He just doesn’t know Spanish!” The kicker for the placekicker came on a play when the Saints opponent called a running play with the right guard pulling to block defensive end Pat Swilling. But the muted translation came out something like this: “And the guard pulls out of the line, races toward Swilling, jumps on him and has sex with him!” The flabbergasted GM, unable to go on because he was laughing so hard, pulled the plug on that broadcast.