Agent: Brees deal 'doesn't help, doesn't hurt' franchise
Player agents are better versed in finance than in French, so when the
representative for one of the unsigned franchise free agents attempted
on Friday afternoon to spit out the term "fait accompli" in reference
to the $100 million contract to which Drew Brees agreed an hour or so
earlier, it came out as more than slightly fractured.
But the translation was unmistakable.
The record five-year deal, with an astonishing $60 million in
guaranteed money, probably will not open the floodgates for the
remaining "franchised" players still without agreements. At least, in
the estimation of some agents, who were intrigued by the Brees numbers,
but not encouraged that they will aid their clients' pursuit of a
"Is anyone shocked that (the Brees contract) got done, or that the
numbers are what they are, really?" asked one agent, rhetorically.
"You'd have to be (naive) to think, with what he means to that team and
that city, and given everything they've been through, that it wasn't
going to get finished. But he was always in another class, even in the
way the (NFLPA) treated him, so it has nothing to do with our
"It doesn't help. It doesn't hurt," agreed an agent for another one of
the unsigned franchise players. "I haven't called the (cap expert for
the team with which the agent is dealing), but I can almost hear him
when I bring the Brees contract up: 'He's a quarterback and he's Drew
Brees.' That's what he's going to tell me. So I'm just better off
saving my breath."
With the Brees agreement, there remain six franchise players without
contracts of any kind: tailbacks Ray Rice (Baltimore) and Matt Forte
(Chicago), wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City), defensive end Cliff Avril (Detroit), safety Dashon Goldson (San Francisco) and kicker Josh Scobee (Jacksonville). Seven others have signed their one-year tenders,
while seven, besides Brees, got long-term contracts.
The deadline for signing multiple-year contracts is Monday.
There were mixed signals about the progress, or lack thereof, on some
discussions, as negotiations approached the weekend and the countdown
to Monday's deadline. In virtually all the cases, the two sides
involved were talking tough, even privately, but semantics and
posturing mean little in such situations.
Witness the Brees negotiations, where there were plenty of words, and
even some contentious private moments, but still a record outcome. The
megadeal, though, figures to have just minimal effect on the remaining
negotiations, which one agent suggested might have been fueled in part
by the image and public relations disaster the lack of a contract might
have meant for both sides.
As loyal as Saints' fans are, the New Orleans organization and owner
Tom Benson would have been pilloried if they hadn't reached a deal. At
the same time, Brees, whose pristine image has elevated his profile off
the field, might have been viewed as greedy in some quarters, had he
walked away from the talks.
Two weeks ago, The Sports Xchange reported that the union's handling of
Brees, with the NFLPA calling for an investigation into negotiations
and suggesting that the Saints had acted in something less than good
faith, did not necessarily sit well with some unsigned agents and
"So it was a PR win-win," said an agent. "But that doesn't make it a
win for me or for my guy.
Len Pasquarelli is a Senior NFL Writer for The
Sports Xchange. He has
covered the NFL for 33 years and is a member of the Pro Football Hall
of Fame selection committee. His NFL coverage earned recognition as the
winner of the McCann Award for distinguished reporting in 2008.