Drew Brees expressed his generosity and exercised philanthropy this week when he and his family announced they were donating $5 million to COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts in Louisiana. But the Saints quarterback's selflessness isn't merely an off-field hobby.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis recently preached about Brees' desire to re-sign with New Orleans this offseason on a team-friendly deal.
"We needed to know what Drew was going to count on our (salary) cap this year, what resources are we using because then that gives us the ability to do some other things," Loomis told the team's website. "To Drew's credit, his No. 1 goal was to make sure we had an opportunity to improve our roster, keep our roster together and be as competitive as we can be. I'm certainly appreciative of how he's handled that contract the last couple times because again the most important thing to him is we have a competitive team."
Brees was slated to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, like Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill, both of whom cashed in on deals worth up to $29.5 million per year. But the Saints QB announced in February that he would be returning to the Saints for his age-41 season, without having already agreed to a deal.
The future Hall of Famer's deal came in on March 17 at two years for $50 million, like (but not exactly like) Brady's deal with his new team in Tampa Bay, with much of the money coming via prorated bonuses. New Orleans got a hometown discount from Brees, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported at the time, who took less money than he could have received on the open market so that the Saints could make competitive playoff runs during his two-year pact, i.e. spend elsewhere.
New Orleans has done just that. The Saints re-signed the unheralded David Onyemata, inked returning tackle Andrus Peat to a hefty deal and placed a first-round tender on Swiss Army human Taysom Hill. New Orleans replaced the departed Vonn Bell with the veteran Malcolm Jenkins. The organization also finally filled out its receiving corps with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders on a deal worth $8 million per year, the exact type of acquisition Brees was likely anticipating when he forewent top dollar.
The result is that New Orleans enters the 2020 season, whenever it may begin, with an unimpeachable roster, one that boasts very few holes if any and is built for another run at the postseason, a division title and a return to the Super Bowl.
Time is running out for the aging Brees to hoist the Lombardi Trophy for a second time in his storied career. If and when the QB is on that postgame dais in the future, his decision to take less money on his final deal could prove to have been a significant one.