It’s roundly expected we’ve all seen the last of Drew Brees in a New Orleans Saints uniform, but the decision and the timeline to deliver the news remain his. As to when he’ll make the final determination on potential retirement, no one knows, and if they do — they’re not telling. So when Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara was recently asked about Brees’ status, he was as tight-lipped as head coach Sean Payton and all others who have a direct line to the Saints legend.
Kamara says everyone will simply have to wait, because Brees has earned that much.
“As far as his career goes and retiring or playing still, a lot of people ask me that and I just say, ‘Drew’s going to take his time and make the best decision for him,'” Kamara told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, via SI.com. “He’s a legend. He’s definitely going to go down as one of the greatest.”
The Saints reportedly restructured Brees’ contract just ahead of Super Bowl LV, per Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap, freeing up $24 million in cap space by reducing his salary to the veteran minimum in 2021. Overall, it reduces the cap hit of Brees from $36 million to only $12 million — a massive first aid kit when factoring in just how cash-strapped the Saints are heading into free agency and beyond. As it stands, before this move, the Saints were nearly $78 million over the cap and in dire straits.
The transaction protects the Saints regardless of Brees’ coming decision, one that’s widely expected to be retirement, because even if he pulls an about-face and opts to stick around one more season, he’ll be at the veteran minimum, salary-wise. Should he retire now, the Saints can carry him on the roster until June 1 and officially retire him on June 2, which would split his dead money over 2021 and 2022 at roughly $11 million per year as opposed to taking the full weight of the hit upfront. If the contract went unchanged and Brees chose to hang up his cleats, the Saints would have suffered a $22.65 million hit — the sum of what would now be divided by two.
There’s still a lot of work for the Saints to do to get under the cap and then create enough space to be viable in free agency, but Brees is happy to throw them a financial life raft with what might later be viewed as a very nice parting gift. That is assuming he retires, and we may not know if he will or won’t any time soon.