Photo: Adrian Kraus, AP
There it is! It's like clockwork, although it appears that this year's timing of it got accidentally pushed a few months forward during Daylight Savings. The annual mid-season narrative that the New Orleans Saints' franchise is set to become a winter wasteland with the potential departure of someone who is instrumental to their success (more often than not, it's Sean Payton) is usually a "gift" that gets unwrapped closer to Christmas. Though, I guess I can appreciate that the media felt it necessary to try to dump damp coal on a Saints team that's officially on fire before their winning streak became a far bigger storyline by way of a thorough dismantling of the Buffalo Bills.
Sure, it seems silly to bring up the ambiguity of Drew Brees' future when the present undoubtedly has him feeling as settled as he's been in years, but not nearly as strange as it would have sounded on the heels of one of the most dominant ass-kickings he has ever been apart of. At 12:30PM EST the idea that the Saints' quarterback would be elsewhere next season was stupid, but at 4:30PM EST the idea that the Saints quarterback would be elsewhere next year was flat out moronic. Credit to Ian Rapoport for limiting the damage by making sure his report came out prior to kickoff.
Admittedly, I have a hard time believing that a "trusted" NFL insider completely fabricated the whispers he's heard regarding Drew Brees' contractual status. Unfortunately for him, I have an exponentially harder time believing that any one of the few people in-the-know would open their mouth when Drew Brees' previously unfulfilled faith in his organization's ability to turn things back around has finally started to pay off in a major way.
Now, if you want to tell me that the Saints won't let their recent success stop them from exploring prospective options at the most important of positions then I'd tell you "no shit", because the person currently holding that position is 38 years old and trending into the twilight of his career. But, if you're trying to tell me that they are going to let the league leader in completion percentage walk because his deep ball has been unable to keep up with Ted Ginn's afterburners a couple of times then I'd say you're smoking something that proves - once and for all - that marijuana doesn't enhance performance.
Drew Brees' is technically less important to his team than he once was, but that's only because the team surrounding him is no longer ungodly terrible. If anything, the fact that the Saints are now up-to-snuff in all other phases of the game makes Drew Brees even less expendable, because you can't argue that defense (and to a lesser extent, a trusted rushing attack) wins championships without acknowledging that unproven quarterbacks typically don't.
When the time comes the negotiations will likely prove lengthy because - from a salary cap perspective - his value to the Saints has certainly been trimmed by talent. Still, the reason why there have been "no talks" about Drew Brees' future is because the guy who has repeatedly said he never wants to play anywhere other than New Orleans has always refused such discussions when there is still football to be played. It would be nothing short of ass-backwards for him to change that philosophy and shift his focus during an incredibly efficient season that has allowed him to drastically lighten his load and probably has him feeling like he could play 4-5 more.
I have no idea whether or not this news is intentionally fake, but - as far as sources are concerned - I think I'll prioritize the opinion of the guy that spent his entire 12 year career playing alongside the player whose future is allegedly "in question"...