by Paul Wanecski
Franchise quarterbacks don’t fall from the sky, nor do they grow on trees. As a life-long resident of Western New York I can promise you that if they did, the Bills wouldn’t have been in the basement for the AFC for the last 15 years. So when word trickles out that one of those QBs that you could (mind the pun) “hitch your wagons to” becomes available, clearly interest is going to be high from about 20 teams.
The issue isn’t the age of Brees, who is currently 36. The issue isn’t his surgically repaired shoulder, which if you saw the incident in San Diego that opened the door for Philip Rivers, you would have thought he would never throw again. Much like nearly everything in the NFL, this is about money. Brees has a fully guaranteed salary for 2015, with the base being $18.75 million. Any team that acquires him also acquires that full base salary. New Orleans would have to eat his prorated signing bonus which takes some of the sting away from the $26.4 million cap number he is currently working under with the Saints, but, most teams are not in a position to absorb that kind of salary.
So the question remains, what can be done to get Brees in a Bills uniform? Well, one move simply would not suffice. To be honest, manufacturing that amount of cap room would be, dare I say, impossible. Now, had the Bills not acquired Charles Clay and Percy Harvin, they might have had the cap space to consider making New Orleans an offer. Now, the Saints don’t HAVE to trade Brees, but, they would be wise to. The team is dismantling and it would be a shock to see them pass on drafting a QB in this upcoming draft. Could they hold on to Brees for one more year? Absolutely, but as he gets older, his value, regardless of his production, will diminish. The Bills had an opportunity to make an offer to Brees in 2006 and passed.
As an advocate for trading the Saints for Brees 6 months ago, it saddens me to tell you that it can’t be done. While Brees could play this year in the ‘Nola and be another trade target next year, watch for the Saints to ready whatever contingency plan they have. Is it possible that the Saints could restructure Brees’ deal to add more signing bonus money, relieving his $18.75 million base salary this season which the Saints would ultimately take as a cap hit just to deal him? I guess you can say anything is possible but it is possible I could win the lottery. I would say I have a better chance of that happening than the Bills trading for Drew Brees in 2015.
The video of the shoulder injury we mentioned. It's not pretty. You have been warned.