Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints reached a historic deal on Friday (July 13), when the quarterback agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract.
According to ESPN.com, the deal includes a first-year take in 2012 of $40 million. Then, over the next three years, he’s guaranteed an NFL-record $60 million, though contractual outs for the Saints are written into the paperwork.
“I appreciate the diligence and steadfast efforts by both sides to get this deal done,” Brees told ESPN.com. “I love my organization, team, and the city of New Orleans. Thank you especially to (owners) Gayle and Tom Benson for the opportunity. Now I need to go earn it.”
The 33-year-old QB had until Monday afternoon (July 16) to reach a long-term contract with the Saints or his only option would have been to play in 2012 under the terms of his franchise tender of $16.371 million. However, sources say he would not have reported to training camp without a long-term contract.
In 2012, Brees will receive a fully guaranteed $40 million salary. In 2013, the team will have a three-day window to release him after the waiver period begins (five days after the Super Bowl); if not, Brees gets another $15 million of fully guaranteed earnings, bringing his two-year total to $55 million. The following year, in 2014, that same three-day waiver scenario is in place before Brees is fully guaranteed another $5 million, with an additional $1 million in salary.
So, if he is the Saints’ QB for the next three years, he would earn $61 million during these years, making it the highest guaranteed total an NFL player in the league’s history.
The final two years of the contract, in which Brees would take home another $39 million, is subject to the same waiver formula, bringing the potential grand total to $100 million over five years. No player in NFL history has averaged $20 million per year.
During the past six seasons with the Saints, Brees has led the Saints to their only Super Bowl title, and has completed more passes (2,488) for more yards (28,394) and more touchdowns (201) than any other quarterback in the NFL. His 67.8 percent completion rate spanning the past six seasons also tops the league.
In 2011, he set NFL single-season records with 468 completions, 5,476 yards passing and a completion percentage of 71.2. His prolific passing numbers helped the Saints set a new NFL high for total offensive yards in a season with 7,474.