Finally, the Saints got back on the football field.
Talk of bounties, wire tapping, suspension appeals and lawsuits were at least put on hold for a week as the team went through organized workouts.
Yet while most NFL clubs were finding out a little about themselves, it was not really the same in New Orleans.
In reality, we found out little about what the Saints will have in store this fall because the most bizarre offseason in league history is far from over.
Team drama is not even close to being done.
True, the coaches, some of whom will be on the sidelines when the games begin and some who won’t, did get a first-hand look at the newcomers and veterans alike.
They found out who took the offseason seriously and who didn’t. Who needs more work and who doesn’t.
And yes, a few things got put into place.
But after the workouts there are still more questions than answers about this club.
The goal is the same, a spot in the Super Bowl that is being played in their home stadium next February, but the path to that game is a lot longer and has many more curves then ever imagined.
And the quarterback, well, he is still not close to signing a deal and coming to the party.
Drew Brees really has no other place to go and the Saints have no other person to turn to in hopes of rebuilding the reputation of the franchise. Still the parties can’t get together on a deal.
Reports say they are just about $2 million apart.
Seems the rest of the players could almost pass the hat to come up with that amount.
Or maybe they can use leftover bounty funds.
Either way, the Saints have to sign Brees and Brees has to sign with the Saints.
The parties will likely come together before training camp begins, but some of the damage is done.
Brees is a fan favorite because he became part of the community and before the end of last season proclaimed he didn’t want to bankrupt the club with a big contract.
Now, he appears to be squeezing the Saints for every last dime.
Granted, his numbers over the years show that he is worth the money. So too has his actions in helping the city rebuild.
One could easily argue that Brees is the most important person to the city of New Orleans since Katrina.
However, some fans are wondering if he is more talk and now is all about the money.
The same can be said for the Saints, who before the end of last year announced they would sign Brees no matter what it took.
Apparently the club did find a limit.
Now the two sides are at a standoff, holding the city, its fans and the other players hostage over some $2 million. If that’s true, owner Tom Benson should pay the ransom.
He’s going to have to pay it anyway.
For without Brees the best grade the Saints can get following their workouts is an incomplete.
It doesn’t matter what the coaches think of the rookies. It doesn’t matter what they think of the new defense or how backup Chase Daniel handed the offense.
This team is all about Brees. Well, Brees and head coach Sean Payton, but his fate has already been decided when it comes to next fall.
On paper, the Saints have enough talent to compete for a division title and that coveted spot in the Super Bowl. That is, of course, only if the name Brees appears on that paper.
So the waiting game only hurts everybody.
Until the day Brees signs, no one knows just what to make of this year’s Saints despite the recent workouts.
Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org