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NFL New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees reportedly close to a long-term deal

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson briefly commented on the contract negotiations with quarterback Drew Brees, who has yet to sign his exclusive franchise tag he received from the team.

On Thursday, April 12th ESPN reported that there has been no progress made between Brees and the Saints with their long-term contract talks.

However on Friday, April 13th, Tom Benson, who was conducting a press conference to announce the purchase of the NBA franchise New Orleans Hornets, said he told Brees “we’re going to work his deal out and we’re going to get it behind us.”

Later in the day, ESPN reported that NFL Insider Adam Schefter spoke with Benson about their contract talks and he said the two sides are “close” on the new deal and that Brees will be in town next week.

Brees’ deal is expected to receive the highest contract for a quarterback in league history. In 2006, he signed a six-year contract with the Saints back in 2006, a six-year deal worth $60 million that included a $8 million signing bonus. With his new deal it’s expected that he will receive in the ballpark of $23 million.

With the two sides close, that is definitely great news for Saints fans, but there has been no further word on talks.

The Saints offseason program starts on Monday, but according to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, a source close to Brees said that that he will not be attending without a deal in place.

“It is very upsetting to him not being there Monday,” the source said. “He wants to be there for his teammates.”

It certainly would help the team to have Brees at the voluntary workouts due to the absence of head coach Sean Payton, but it’s rather frequent for players who are in contract negotiations to hold out these workouts.

The workouts you should worry about Brees missing are the mandatory OTA’s (organized team activities) where the team actually starts practicing on the field which are held in mid-May.

Brees could still choose to attend the offseason program at any point without being under contract, as long as he signs a waiver. However, should he do that it’ll hurt his leverage during contract negotiations so that’ unlikely to happen.

The two sides have until July 16th to complete a long-term deal.