Quarterback Drew Brees Speaks Out On Contract Negotiations With New Orleans Saints
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees recently said in an interview with WWL radio in New Orleans that he is extremely frustrated that he is not signed yet to a long-term deal with the New Orleans Saints and he could miss the first organized offseason practice next week.
"I'm gonna be as prepared as I can possibly be with whatever happens. You know, if that means missing OTA's, missing mini-camp, missing training camp, I will be as ready as I can possibly be."
Brees says he's committed to the Saints but there's not enough conversation between the two sides.
"There's always back and forth, you know, when it comes to these negotiations, but, um, I know that we've reached out on quite a few occasions and, um, at times I know I've been frustrated with a lack of response."
Brees says these negotiations shouldn't be difficult.
"There's certainly a, what I think, would be an appropriate I guess number for my situation. It's not, I think, anything that's unreasonable or anything like that."
It's been reported Brees is seeking a deal that would pay him around $21-million dollars a year, while the Saints are said to be offering about $19-million annually. If a deal is not done by August, the franchise quarterback is prepared to sit out of training camp. He says that he wants to return as soon as possible, but the bounty gate scandal is truly making this offseason slowed down.
Meanwhile, the grievance filed by the NFL Players Association on behalf of the Saints players suspended in the bounty scandal was heard Wednesday. The union claims NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't have the authority to hand out discipline for player conduct that happened prior to the collective bargaining agreement that was signed last August. It's not known when the arbitrator will rule.
Four current and former Saints players were suspended, with current Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma facing the harshest punishment. He was suspended for the entire 2012 season without pay. Another current Saints player, defensive lineman Will Smith, was suspended for four games. Two former Saints players, defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove and linebacker Scott Fujita, received eight and three game suspensions respectively.
Another hearing has been set for May 30th as an arbitrator will hear arguments on that day whether Goodell should be the one to hear the suspended players appeals.
And Saints Head Coach Sean Payton may be suspended for the season and has already lost his appeal, but he'll still be with the team in spirit. The Saints will leave his seat empty on the team bus and plane and also during team meetings. Interim Coach Joe Vitt has acknowledge it won't be easy to have Payton not around.