QB Drew Brees and arbitrator see eye to eye in franchise tag matter

Arbitrator, Stephen Burbank ruled in Drew Brees’ favor in a dispute of how much the Saints would have to pay him if they slapped Brees with the franchise tag in 2013.  Brees is still holding out this offseason for a long-term contract with the Saints.  The franchise tag does not allow the QB to negotiate with another team and could force him a one year contract worth $16.3 million, if a deal is not made by the July 16 deadline.  If Brees does not sign a long-term contract and is tagged again in 2013, he would earn approximately $23.5 million.

The arbitrator properly rejected the NFL’s strained interpretation of the CBA language, which ignored the fact that a Franchise Player designation is a narrow exception to the overall free agency structure. This ruling will help all Franchise Players in the future,” the NFLPA said in a statement. “We are very happy that Drew Brees has clarification on this matter, and we hope that it facilitates a successful negotiation for Drew and the Saints.”

Brees, who is 33, has been with the Saints for 6 seasons and has been nothing but spectacular.  In those seasons he completed more passes (2,488) for more yards (28,394) and more touchdowns (201) than any QB in the league.  His completion percentage (67.8) also ranks at the top of his peers.

In 2011, Brees was on fire setting NFL single-season records with 468 completions for 5,476 yards passing and a 71.2 completion percentage.  Those numbers helped the Saints set a new NFL high for total offensive yards with 7,474.  He also led the Saints to a 13-3 record and their second NFC South Division Title in 3 years.

Brees is now looking to get paid in the range of the leagues most elite quarterbacks and rightfully so, deserves it.  He was paid on second round money when he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers, which ended when he was slapped with the franchise tag in 2005.  The following season, Brees injured his throwing shoulder which left him with few offers and landed him a six year deal with the Saints.

Peyton Manning, who is three years older than Brees, signed a contract with the Denver Broncos for five years worth $96 million.  Brees, who is younger and less of a risk than Manning should be confident that a deal will get done, since he has been underpaid at a position he has been so dominant.

According to sources, someone close to the situation spoke anonymously to The Associated Press, saying that Brees was offered more than $19 million a year by the Saints.  The source added that Brees is seeking a five year deal worth under $21 million a year.  The person could not reveal their name, because contract negotiations are still ongoing.

Brees now has the upper hand and is still confident a deal will get done before mid July.  With training camp approaching closer each day, it should be a important for both sides to come to an agreement to better help a deflated team that is missing their head coach, Sean Payton, for the entire 2012 season and key components of their defense.