This may sound a little weird…
The Saints suspensions — from coach Sean Payton to GM Mickey Loomis to the players — have hurt the team. No doubt. Two key parts who built the team won’t be involved in some or all of the 2012 season, and a few players are appealing that reality, too. Some, as in the case of Jonathan Vilma, are doing so vehemently.
And then there is QB Drew Brees. Hit with the exclusive version of the franchise tag, without a long-term contract, Brees is a little pissed. He didn’t mind saying so. And his comments haven’t led to any contract movement, Steve Wyche reports.
Brees hasn’t said whether he’ll sign the tag if it’s that or nothing, and he hasn’t said whether he’ll attend the mini-camp. My advice for him: Stay away. Far away. And don’t say anything else. Just let it all unfold.
Why would a guy so concerned with winning do that? Why would a guy who played without security in 2011 suddenly decide not to play without security this time? Why would Brees make a statement so out of character?
I’ll give you two reasons…
1. The suspensions actually help. No really, they do. Payton will be nowhere near camp. The coach isn’t just the coach, he’s also the play-caller. Payton is also the designer of the offense and the man pulling the strings. If there are adjustments to make, Payton would make them. And if he didn’t, Brees would. So, what will the Saints offense look like without them both? It’ll be terrible. Ugly. Gross. And definitely not the same.
This is what the Saints will be forced to watch during mandatory mini-camp and possibly during training camp (if Brees doesn’t show for that). They already know Brees is absolutely essential. As important to his team as any QB. That’s one thing. But it’s another thing to be forced to watch it day after day. To be reminded of how miserable everything is without Brees. If that doesn’t get them to up their offer, nothing will.
2. Because it’s so out of character. Brees does have it in him to fight for what he believes in, as he lent his name to the union’s anti-trust lawsuit and was a hard-line executive committee member during the lockout. But he hasn’t yet turned his intentions personal. By all accounts, he’s a good guy. He cares about the team, the city, the fans, his fellow players. Think about how bad things have to be going for him to be so upset. Think about the losing PR battle the Saints would be fighting if it’s them vs. Brees in the public eye, and if he’s actually missing time on the field. If Brees makes a stand that is as serious as his drive to win, the Saints might as well be right with whatever they are offering. But it won’t matter. Brees staying away (even for training camp) will be so big and overwhelming it will take over even all the talk of the bounties. They’ll almost have to simply pay him.
At least, that’s what I’m thinking…