Forget the Patriots, the Saints Enter Offseason With QB Questions Too
Drew Brees is not yet under contract with the Saints for next season
The quarterback situation in New England may be getting all the national attention, but there is another NFL team with a 40-something QB who is hitting the free-agent market after this season where the future is perhaps even more uncertain: New Orleans.
The NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown passes and yardage, Drew Brees will turn 41 next week and is not under contract with the Saints for next season.
Complicating matters for the Saints, both of the longtime QB’s backups, veteran Teddy Bridgewater and gadget player Taysom Hill, also have contracts that expire in 2020.
Hill is a restricted free agent so the Saints can match any offer he receives on the market and get compensation if he leaves, but Brees and Bridgewater are unrestricted and New Orleans could lose them for nothing.
Bridgewater, 27, went 5-0 as a starter this season and will likely get an offer to be a starter for a QB-needy team. He may turn it down and choose to stay in New Orleans, but that will likely cost more than the $7.25 million (plus incentives) that he made in 2019.
More important than Bridgewater is what happens with Brees. While it would be surprising to see him retire, he did not commit to returning after the Saints upset loss to the Vikings on Wild-Card Weekend. If he stays, Brees would likely command a two-year deal for about $60 million with $30 million guaranteed.
Of the three, Hill seems most likely to return to the team as he’ll only cost $4.5 million (at the most) to retain and he could theoretically step in as the team’s starting quarterback were Brees and Bridgewater both to depart.
Another possibility is that the Saints are able to manipulate their salary cap in a way that allows them to sign all three. Or, they do the complete opposite and draft a quarterback.
“The Saints have studied all of the top quarterback prospects carefully for several years now, and they have been ready to pounce if they ever found the right fit,” according to ESPN. “They were poised to take Patrick Mahomes with the 11th pick in 2017 before the Kansas City Chiefs jumped ahead of them. But they don’t have great ammunition. The Saints don’t pick until 24th in Round 1, and they don’t have a second-round pick this year.”
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