SBD/July 16, 2012/Franchises

Saints' $100M Deal With Brees A "Win-Win" As Team Tries To Recover From Bounty Scandal

Brees will lead Saints through "challenging" '12 season in aftermath of bounty scandal
Saints QB Drew Brees' new five-year, $100M deal was "an obvious win-win-win for the player, the team and the Who Dat Nation," according to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. Triplett wrote, "All that talk of 'market value' and 'leverage' over the past five months seems so silly now. Everyone involved in the negotiations, every fan and most every media analyst spent Friday congratulating both sides on the deal. And virtually no one suggested that either side got the raw end" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 7/15). ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas wrote Saints players, coaches and team Owner Tom Benson "finally can start moving on." The Saints' "dysfunction was masked almost exclusively by one man -- Brees." Yasinskas wrote, "I have to believe that [Saints GM Mickey] Loomis and Benson knew all along that they couldn’t afford to go into this season without Brees, no matter how much he would impact the salary cap." Both sides were "simply playing the game." They played it "far too long and made it much more dramatic and bitter than it had to be" (ESPN.com, 7/13). YAHOO SPORTS' Jason Cole wrote Brees can "officially now go about repairing the damage done to the team this offseason by the bounty scandal." Brees is the "guy who every player (and even most coaches) is going to look to for answers as the Saints navigate a challenging 2012 season." The most "shocking part of this offseason is that the Saints, starting with Loomis and owner Tom Benson, didn't seem to realize (or value) that" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/13). Meanwhile, Black & Gold Sports Shop Owner Pam Randazza said, "People have been holding out buying jerseys for Drew Brees until he was signed. All of a sudden, we're getting bombed with jersey orders" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 7/14).

WHAT PEOPLE WERE SAYING: Brees' signing drew a variety of comments from on-air pundits over the weekend. ESPN’s Rob Parker said, “Every player in the NFL should feel good that he made the owners blink. He’s been underpaid for a long time” (“Numbers Never Lie,” ESPN2, 7/13). ESPN’s Antonio Pierce said, “What he’s done for this organization, on and off the field, I think it’s priceless to a certain degree because this was a team that struggled for a lot of years” (“NFL 32,” ESPN, 7/13). ESPN’s Tom Jackson said, “Considering everything that happened to that team over the course of the last year this had to happen. I’m going to steal a quote from LeBron James: It is about time that the Saints got it right” (“NFL Live,” ESPN, 7/13). N.Y. Daily News columnist Mike Lupica: “You can make a case that because of Bountygate, because of the hit the franchise (took), he might have had more leverage in this negotiation than any NFL player has ever had at any time. If he had held out like three more days, it wouldn’t be the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It would have been the Drew Brees Superdome” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 7/15). SB Nation’s Bomani Jones: “It sounds to me like the Saints caved and lost bad and they could have played nice.” NBC Sports Network's Erik Kuselias: "He's an important position. As long as he continues to play at that level, you can't overpay for that kind of quality. I think the Saints are getting the better end” (“NBC Sports Talk,” NBC Sports Network, 7/13).

NO STONE UNTURNED: CBSSPORTS.com's Clark Judge noted former FBI Dir Louis Freeh now is moving from "investigating Penn State to the New Orleans Saints." Freeh and his team "earlier this spring were hired by Saints owner Tom Benson in a bold and courageous move that should set the record straight once and for all." In hiring Freeh, Benson shows that he "isn't afraid of the truth" and that he "wants to get to the bottom of a scandal that won't go away." Freeh will "look into allegations of electronic eavesdropping of opposing coaches, too, which makes sense considering there's still an open criminal investigation into the charges." Essentially, Benson has "asked Freeh to tell him what he doesn't know about his organization, and that's not just smart; it's downright responsible" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/13).
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