- By BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer
By BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Saints quarterback Drew Brees says he’s keeping long-term career goals to himself after signing a new two-year contract extension.
“Just take it one year at a time, but I do have a goal, I do have a vision,” Brees said on a conference call a day after agreeing to his new contract. “I’m not going to share it with you guys, sorry.
“I do have a goal and a vision for where my career’s going to go and how long it’s going to last, but I’m very, very focused on each year, one at a time.”
Brees turned 39 last Jan. 15 and is entering his 18th NFL season — one that holds promise for a rejuvenated franchise that returned to the playoffs from the first time in four seasons in 2017.
From the moment last season ended, Brees openly stated that he didn’t want to play anywhere other than New Orleans, but said his latest contract negotiation wasn’t entirely devoid of stress as negotiations lingered until the day before he was due to become a free agent.
“Maybe just a little bit from the standpoint that you’re trying to do something that’s very fair for both sides,” said Brees, whose contract is worth up to $50 million, with $27 million guaranteed in the first year. “I’ve always tried to take a logical and reasonable approach to every contract, but I think especially now, you want to be able to look at the big picture and see how it affects the rest of the team and how you continue to build the team so that you can make a run at the ultimate goal.”
Brees said other NFL teams did reach out to him during a very brief period when teams were permitted to begin contacting players with expiring contracts before free agency officially began on Wednesday afternoon.
It was the first time he and his agent, Tom Condon, have been in position to field offers from other teams since Brees signed his first contract with the Saints — a six-year, $60 million deal in 2006.
“It felt a little weird and again my mindset has always been that I will be playing for the Saints and I’m going to retire a Saint,” Brees said.
“It’s not like I was really taking any of them seriously, but just to hear the offers (from other teams) and feel the attention that was interesting.”
The Saints narrowly missed advancing to the NFC title game this past season when they fell at Minnesota on a 61-yard Vikings touchdown as time expired.
After three consecutive 7-9 seasons from 204-2016, the Saints’ returned to contention in large part because of considerable contributions from first- and second-year players such as cornerback Marshon Lattimore, The Associated Press defensive rookie of the year, and Alvin Kamara, the offensive rookie of the year.
“Certainly, you look at the potential that we have in our young players and you should feel excited if they continue to progress,” Brees said.
His contract done, Brees can now go back to his typical offseason family life in southern California, where he keeps an offseason home, and his offseason training routine until the resumption of voluntary offseason workouts in New Orleans this spring.
The same day Brees agreed to his new contract, the father of four was overseeing a practice as coach of a first-grade flag football team.
“Put in a little bit of no-huddle, a little bit of hurry-up offense,” Brees said. “We have a package called Wildcat and a package called Volunteer and then a package called Quad. I’m feeling pretty good about those no-huddle packages. … That was kind of the highlight of my day yesterday — after signing the contract.”
Notes: Brees commented on the potential he sees in reserve quarterback Taysom Hill, currently the only other quarterback on the roster. “If you take his measurables and his intangibles, I think he does have everything it takes to be a great player,” Brees said of Hill, who is entering his second NFL season out of BYU. “This offseason he’ll get a chance to really dive into our system.”
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