Drew Brees became the first $20 million a year player in the NFL in 2012. In 2016 and beyond, he needs to remain that way: nothing more, nothing less.
By now we can safely assume that Brees and the Saints will at some point come to the negotiating table for an extension. This will add stability for Brees on the back end of his career and help the Saints lower Brees' astronomical $30 million cap hit for 2016 and give the team some much needed flexibility.
However, former NFL agent Joel Corry tweeted an interesting stat that read when Brees signed his original contract in 2012, the cap was $120 million. With the cap now projected to be about $153.4 million, that number would equate to $25.4 million a season now.
I don't know if this is something Brees' camp would use for leverage. But they shouldn't. Both Brees and the Saints are not nearly in the same positions they were four years ago.
In 2012, he was fresh off a Super Bowl MVP and perhaps the best offensive season in NFL history in 2011. He had just led the team to two 13-win seasons in three years and was doing all of this at a salary that was well below his market value. Plus, he was 33. Now he's 37 and while his numbers have been remarkably consistent, the team has suffered three losing seasons in four years and have only had one playoff appearance. He also battled health issues this season that caused him to miss his first game from injury as a Saint.
Simply put, this is not the time for Brees and his agent, Tom Condon, to dig in and demand more.
On the flipside, it's not the time for the Saints to demand any type of 'hometown discount.' The Saints would already enjoy a discount by paying him the same rate but with a larger salary cap. And the truth is based on what some other quarterbacks with less on their resume' are getting paid, $20 million is no longer a record-breaking contract. It's a reasonable price for a franchise quarterback.
The only real negotiation is the length of his extension. Do they add another year? Two? Three? That is up for fair debate but shouldn't take too long to figure out.