The New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees remain well apart in contracts talks, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
If a multi-year contract is not reached by 4pm ET next Monday, the Saints are expected use the franchise tag on Brees, which is projected to be worth around $14.374 million in guaranteed base salary for the 2012 season.
Brees is coming off one of the most prolific passing seasons in NFL history, setting a single-season NFL record with 5,476 yards and leading the league with 46 touchdown passes. Brees' agent is Tom Condon of CAA Football, who negotiated Peyton Manning's $18 million per year contract with the Indianapolis Colts last July.
Given Condon's experience negotiating quarterback contracts, and Brees' importance to the Saints offense and his role in the New Orleans community, it's a surprise that particular contract hasn't been wrapped up already. Brees hasn't missed a game due to injury during his six seasons with the Saints and, after turning 33 in January, is the same age that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was when he signed a four-year, $72 million contract in 2010.
Guaranteed money is likely the issue holding up the Brees deal.
Both Manning and Brady's guarantees were in the $48 million range. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick's contract ranks third among quarterbacks in terms of average per year (average per year) and contained $32.5 million in fully guaranteed money upfront (and in the first two seasons) with that guarantee increasing to $35.5-$38.5 million over the first three seasons.
That's a nearly $10 million gulf that needs to be bridged.
Condon also negotiated the contract of St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, who received $50 million in guaranteed money as the No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. With New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning's contract a year away from salary cap numbers rising to over $18 million, Condon could be seeking to establish a $50 million guarantee floor at the quarterback position with the Brees contract.