39-year-old free agent Drew Brees makes it pretty clear he's returning
After a rocky start, Saints quarterback Drew Brees played a brilliant game in leading the Saints back from a 17-0 deficit, only to lose 29-24 Sunday in the NFC playoffs on a miraculous last-second touchdown by the Vikings Stefon Diggs.
The heartbreaking loss was not quite the birthday present Brees, who turned 39 Monday, was hoping for.
But he’ll be back, that much is clear.
And he hopes to be back with the Saints for another crack at a Super Bowl before he calls it quits — whenever that may be.
Brees, now an unrestricted free agent, made clear after the game that he wants to stay in New Orleans and re-sign with the Saints.
Even though he is a free agent this winter, Drew Brees said he plans to return to New Orleans.https://t.co/pCkrXH1dXW
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 15, 2018
“I’m hoping I’m a part of a few more that I feel that way about and we can make a run at it,” Brees said after the game. “Unfortunately, sometimes experience is a tough teacher, and things happen, and you can go one of two ways with it. Does it put you in the tank? Does it pull you apart? Or does it unite you and make you stronger and mold you and strengthen you? That’s the outlook I’m taking, and I think that’s the outlook that our entire team is taking.”
Despite being at an age where most quarterbacks ride off into the sunset, Brees didn’t act his age in this season. And Sunday, against the league’s best defense, he went 25-for-40 for 294 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
The two interceptions came early as the Saints dug a 17-0 hole, but in the second half Brees was nearly flawless, engineering three touchdown drives and a drive that ended with appeared to be the game-winning field goal with 25 seconds lefts.
Drew Brees had a throwback performance, then watched it get wiped off the board. But let’s celebrate him anyways. @DannyBKelly https://t.co/qVIPvEmxrM
— The Ringer (@ringer) January 15, 2018
This season, Brees led the league in completion percentage (72 percent), was second in quarterback rating (103.9) and was fourth in yards (4,334), to go along with 23 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.
Wherever he plays next season, whether its New Orleans or somewhere else, he’ll most certainly become the NFL’s all-time passing yards leader, surpassing Peyton Manning’s 71,940. Brees is currently third with 70,445.
He’s also third all-time in passing TDs with 488, tied with Tom Brady. Manning is first with 539.
The Saints would be ill-advised not to sign Brees, considering how well he has played and the fact that there’s no replacement in waiting behind him on the depth chart.
But he won’t come cheap. Brees is coming off a one-year, $24.25 million contract extension.
“I mean, I’m more toward the end of my career than the beginning, I know that. That’s all I divulge [about how long I plan on playing],” said Brees, according to ESPN. “But the season ends, and this one will sting, but I think you look back at the things we accomplished and some of the memories that were made and the relationships that were built and the way this team came together. It really leaves me excited for the future of Saints football.”
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