It has seemed inevitable since the Saints’ season ended, but will Drew Brees actually retire?
If we want to read tea leaves, there have been plenty regarding the looming retirement of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. A contract with NBC. Two straight years with significant injuries and signs of decline. A contract restructuring that lowered his 2021 cap hit, if only as a favor to the cap-strapped (or an even stronger word than strapped) Saints.
During Super Bowl week, Saints head coach Sean Payton told PFT Live that Brees’ retirement decision was coming within two weeks. Wednesday marks three weeks since Payton said that, as Mike Florio noted.
The mechanics of processing Brees’ retirement allows the Saints to wait until June 2 to put him on the reserve/retired list, and split the cap hit between 2021 and ’22. But this bit from Florio stands out.
“Per the NFL, the Saints would still be able to officially place Brees on the reserve-retired list on June 2 even if he announces his retirement now. Thus, that’s not the impediment.”
So what’s the holdup for Drew Brees?
If Brees is hesitant to call it a career, since there’s surely no going back on that decision based on his agreement with NBC, that’s understandable. So his silence is thus understandable too. But the silence from him, as the Saints consider their options to replace him, is rather loud.
Could Brees be thinking about playing in 2021? As part of his restructuring, his base salary would be the league minimum–$1.075 million. Not that the money matters that much to him, but at 42 years old coming off the injuries he had last season it’s hard to see Brees playing for that little.
If Brees has told the Saints there’s a chance he wants to play (again, for the league minimum), they can wait for his decision right now. But the clock is ticking, as the calendar gets set to flip to March. There’s a scenario where the Saints follow through with moving on, while Brees doesn’t retire and lands elsewhere. But that’s highly speculative, and a conversation for another day.