The New Orleans Saints are in the twilight of Drew Brees’ career as reports speculate that the 41-year-old will retire at the end of the season.
Brees has enjoyed one of the greatest runs in the history of the NFL and will be guaranteed a spot in the Hall of Fame. His accomplishments are endless, although he has been surpassed this season as the league’s all-time touchdown leader by Tom Brady, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback is also closing in on his passing yards record.
It would be fitting for Brees to go out with a second Super Bowl title, although he will have to be on his mettle should the Saints go all the way. New Orleans are currently backed at +600 in the NFL odds on bet365 to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The 41-year-old deserves a second crown, having carried the fortunes of the franchise since 2006. Brees has meant a great deal to the city due to his continued charity work and reviving the region itself after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. He will certainly be a tough act to follow should he call time on his career.
Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis may have to act in the 2021 NFL Draft or perhaps pursue a quarterback in free agency. Jameis Winston was signed to a one-year deal, but failed to thrive at the Buccaneers in five unsuccessful seasons. Taysom Hill provided decent relief for Brees while he was sidelined with fractured ribs, although he is not the long-term solution to replace the future Hall of Famer behind center for the Saints.
There are too many teams in front of the Saints in the queue for the leading quarterbacks in the draft. Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Mac Jones and maybe even Kyle Trask will be long gone by the time New Orleans are on the clock. As a result, the Saints are going to have to get creative with their selection once again.
Brees was not a sought-after player when he was available on the market in 2006 due to fears over a shoulder injury. Only the Saints and the Miami Dolphins pursued the quarterback after his departure from the San Diego Chargers, despite a solid record in his time at the franchise. The Saints made the persuasive case and the rest is history. The question is could lightning strike twice for the franchise?
Matt Stafford is a name that could be available after 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions. He too has had problems with injuries, but like Brees he is a tough customer. The 32-year-old has been starved of success in Detroit and could use a change of scenery under the tutelage of Payton.
If the Saints decide to use draft picks as capital – two players that could emerge on the horizon that are both reclamation projects are Carson Wentz and Jimmy Garoppolo. Wentz’s career has flamed out at Philadelphia due to his struggles behind center and he may be available on the trade block. Injuries and a lack of talent around him have played a significant role. If New Orleans could replace Brees’ salary with that of Wentz – it would be a very intriguing fit and keep the franchise in the running for the Super Bowl.
The same can be said of Garoppolo, although his injury history may put teams off sending capital towards the San Francisco 49ers. However, the 29-year-old does have an excellent record when he has been on the field outside of his slightly underwhelming performance in Super Bowl LIV.
Should Brees end his career after the 2020 season there could be options to keep the franchise alive and well in the hunt for future Lombardi trophies.