At 37 years old there is no doubt that Saints quarterback Drew Brees can still perform at a high level. Brees just came off of his 10th consecutive 4,000 yards or more passing season. However, as the years go by, and Brees gets up there in age, you have to wonder how long will he be able to carry this football team on his shoulders.
When thoughts like that come about, head coach Sean Payton and the rest of the Saints front office needs to start searching for Brees’ eventual replacement immediately.
Contrary to conflicting reports, I believe that Drew Brees will finish his career out as a New Orleans Saint. In regards to his contract situation, General Manager Mickey Loomis will not be asking Brees to take a deep pay cut similar to how John Elway convinced future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning to take a reduction in his salary.
On top of that, Brees will not be forced to run another offense that he was not accustomed to running as Manning did in his last year in Denver. Rumors among various pro football insiders are that the Saints tried to move up in the draft to select a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft so that development of Drew Brees’ replacement could begin immediately.
Even if the Saints could not move up in this year’s draft to select Paxton Lynch out of Memphis, they still should have drafted a quarterback for continuity reasons. Recent reports coming out of the Saints camp are that last year’s 3rd round draft pick Garrett Grayson has not mastered the ins and outs of the Saints offense.
If the Saints had to lose Brees to a season-ending injury, it would be veteran quarterback Luke McCown under center for the Saints offense and not Garrett Grayson. Outside of Drew Brees, McCown is the only quarterback on the Saints roster that knows the nuances of the Saints offense. Not saying that McCown would stink up the joint if he had to step in for Brees, but there is no way of telling what type of production he would put out during a 16-game season.
Based on the recent moves that the team has made, they are not “tanking” the 2016 regular season to have the number pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. There are a few signal callers that the Saints might be interested in taking in next year’s draft, however; the situation at hand is how much longer will the Saints keep Drew Brees around?
If the Saints want to maintain success at the quarterback position once Brees retires, then they must carefully look for his replacement as soon as possible. If Grayson is not the guy that they thought he would be, then it’s time for the team to move on and find the quarterback that will carry this franchise for the foreseeable future.
They can find someone like the Packers did when they selected Aaron Rodgers with the 24th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, but they must be wise about it. Finding late first round gems like Rodgers is very rare in today’s National Football League.
Photo credits by bleacherreport.com