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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints agree on contract extension

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints agree on contract extension

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints quarterback Drew Brees has agreed to a contract extension with the Saints and a person familiar with the deal says it will keep Brees in New Orleans through at least 2017 and guarantee him $44.3 million.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday because details of the extension had not been announced.

The contract runs for five years, starting this season, and includes a $30 million bonus that, for now, can be prorated over that period to substantially reduce the $30 million Brees' old contract would have counted against the Saints' salary cap this season. However, the final three seasons are voidable, meaning the Saints and Brees, who turns 38 in January, will have to revisit the possibility of another extension next year.

The deal also has a no-trade clause.

Brees said Wednesday that the salary cap implications were the most important thing to him because it puts the Saints in position to keep and acquire talent.

And though the deal is only guaranteed for two years, Brees said he plans to play longer and acknowledged that he wanted a contract reflecting that but added this deal "was in the best interest of the team."

Brees owns Saints franchise records in virtually every passing category, having thrown for 48,555 yards and 348 touchdowns in 10 seasons with the club. He also was named Super Bowl MVP when the Saints' 2009 squad won New Orleans' only NFL championship.

His yards passing total with New Orleans is the most by any NFL quarterback in a 10-year span in league history.

Brees had stated this summer that, in an effort to prevent his contract talks from becoming a distraction, that he would break off negotiations before the first game of the regular season. That meant the Saints had to reach an agreement with their star quarterback by this week to lock down his services for coming seasons.

Brees was about to enter the final season of a five-year, $100 million contract he signed in 2012, one season after setting a then NFL-record with 5,476 yards passing. He also threw for 46 touchdowns in 2011, when the offense he ran piled up an NFL-record 7,474 yards.

The Saints' prolific QB again led the league in passing last season, and he has asserted that, with the help of modern training techniques, he could play at an elite level for at least five more seasons. But as it turns out, Brees did not hold out for a contract that would pay him like the NFL's younger, top-tier QBs. In June, for example, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck agreed to an extension worth up to $140 million for the next six seasons, which averages out to about $23.3 million per year.

Brees' deal appears designed to give the Saints the financial flexibility to bring him more help in the coming seasons as he and coach Sean Payton, who earlier this year also agreed to an extension in New Orleans through 2020, try to make another run at a Super Bowl.

He kept repeating that he planned to finish his career with New Orleans even when his contract talks stalled. That looks a lot more likely now.


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