Last Modified: Thursday, May 17, 2012 9:24 PM
OK, it’s not funny anymore.
It’s gone well beyond just mildly annoying.
In fact, this is getting downright ridiculous.
Come on, Saints, just do it. Quit the dillydallying, the posturing and all the hemming and hawing and get Drew Brees’ autograph on a long-term contract.
There’s no longer the excuse that the team is preoccupied with Bountygate damage control. That’s all over but the haggling over details.
This should be the easiest contract negotiation in the history of professional sports.
Basically, what should have happened at the start of the negotiations was to have Brees — more likely, his agent — walk into the room.
The Saints would ask, How much do you want, how long, etc.?
Brees would answer with the figure of his pleasure.
The Saints would then say, That sounds great to us, exactly what WE were thinking, just sign here and where would you like us to have the complimentary fruit basket delivered?
Pretty simple, right?
And yet, at the moment, it would appear there’s little progress, to the point you might even say that the talks, such as they are, have stalled.
Saints fans have enough on their plates these days without having to worry about whether Brees will be in the Saints offense next season.
Actually, he’s not “in” the Saints dynamic offense as much as he “is” the Saints’ record-setting offense.
For that matter, he “is” the Saints team, he “is” the franchise and right now he pretty well “is” the uplifting, post-Katrina city of New Orleans.
Sign him up. Today.
The Saints have now let this thing simmer long enough that even Brees, though ever mindful of his clean-cut image, is starting to let his frustrations show.
If there’s one person on Earth the Saints don’t need to be frustrating right now, it’s Drew Brees.
They have already annoyed him by sticking the “franchise player” tag on him.
Brees finally went off on a bit of a tangent in a WWL radio interview Wednesday night, acknowledging that there’s always back and forth when it comes to negotiations, but added:
“We’ve reached out on a quite a few occasions and, at times, I know I’ve been frustrated by the lack of response.”
What? They’re not returning his phone calls?
“I would just say there should be a sense of urgency, and yet it seems like there’s not.”
What, pray tell, could be more urgent than getting the best player in the history of the franchise in the prime of his athletic career signed, sealed and delivered?
It’s also a player who has made it clear he doesn’t want to leave his adopted city, the city he has become the face of.
“It’s been extremely frustrating for me,” Brees said in the radio interview. “I didn’t think the negotiation should have been this difficult. But here we are.”
Brees apparently has his heart set on being the NFL’s highest paid player. And if not him, then who should be?
The figure being mentioned most is something just north of $20 million per year.
That’s ridiculous money, of course, at least in layman bricklayer’s terms, but the NFL plays with monopoly money and that’s the market.
In that market, the Saints have had the bargain of all bargains for the last six years by paying Brees “just” $10 million per year.
That was his contract — offered when few other teams were interested due to his damaged shoulder — and he signed it.
Brees appreciated it. While the more common route for an athlete who far outplays his contract is to demand that it be torn up and renegotiated, Brees should be credited for playing through his without a peep of dissent, all the way to a Super Bowl victory.
Now the bill is due.
A player of his stature should have had a new contract in place several years ago, certainly as soon as the confetti from the Super Bowl was swept up.
Instead, unbelievably, the clock is still ticking, with deadlines quickly approaching.
Missing a few offseason workouts over this is probably way overrated. Last year’s lockout of the players pretty well proved that stuff is mostly stay-busy work.
But as long as Brees remains unsigned, it’s one more dark cloud hanging over a team that surely doesn’t need another one right now.
Mainly, though, the man just flat deserves it.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at email@example.com