NEW ORLEANS — Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints still must close a significant gap in guaranteed money if they are to agree on a five-year contract worth about $100 million by Monday’s looming deadline for a long-term deal, said a person familiar with the negotiations.
The sides were more than $10 million apart in the guaranteed portion of the contract on Wednesday, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing.
The stakes are high for both sides and the negotiations have lasted for months, including long gaps in communication between the two camps.
Brees, 33 and entering his 12th season, never before has had the chance to negotiate a contract on par with the elite quarterbacks of the game. The Saints, meanwhile, risk alienating the best quarterback in franchise history, not to mention their fan base, by failing to make an offer to his satisfaction by Monday — the deadline for players with the franchise tag to sign long-term deals.
Several months ago, Brees first raised the possibility that he would not report to the opening of training camp if all that was on the table at that time was the one-year franchise tag of about $16.3 million.
If Brees does not have a long-term contract in place by Monday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, the quarterback has no plans to sign his franchise tender and report to training camp, league and team sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.