NFL

Drew Brees Is About to Become the Highest-Paid Player in NFL History

Over the course of his 19-year career, Drew Brees has set numerous NFL records. Drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2001, Brees truly became one of the all-time greats after signing with the New Orleans Saints in 2006. He led the franchise to its first Super Bowl win following the 2009 season and has continued his stellar play over the last decade.

Heading into the 2020 NFL season, Drew Brees holds records for passing yards, career completion percentage, single-season completion percentage, and completed passes just to name a few. And once the checks start rolling in on his latest contract, he’ll also set the record as the highest-paid player in NFL history.

Drew Brees has signed some big contracts over the course of his career

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Following his initial rookie deal with the Chargers, Drew Brees was slapped with the franchise tag by San Diego for the 2005 season, which paid just a little over $8 million. He finally hit the $10 million mark when he joined the Saints, signing a six-year/$60 million with New Orleans in 2006.

In March 2012, New Orleans put the tag on him, which would have paid him more than $16 million, but the two sides were able to come to a long-term agreement that July worth $100 million over five years. An extra year was tacked onto that deal in September 2016, a one-year/$24.25 million extension. He again re-upped with the club in 2018, signing a two-year/$50 million contract, which ended following last season.

While some thought that Drew Brees, who’s now 41 years old, might retire to head to the broadcast booth, he’ll be back on the field this fall.

He recently signed a new contract but also upset quite a few people

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I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused. In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character. This is where I stand: I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference. I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today. I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community. I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement. I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right. I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy. I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening…and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.

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Drew Brees threw for just 2,979 yards in 2019, his lowest total since 2003, but he also missed five games for the Saints this past season due to a torn ligament in his right thumb. He still led the league in completion percentage for the third consecutive season, completing 74.3% of his passes. That must have been enough for him to decide to keep playing as he signed a new two-year deal in March, again worth $50 million.

However, three months after signing his new deal, there were plenty of people wishing that Drew Brees would retire. In early June, soon after the death of George Floyd, the Colin Kaepernick kneeling protests from 2016 once again became a big topic of conversation and Brees made some comments that many, including some of his own teammates, believed to be insensitive.

The NFL’s all-time passing yards leader said that he could never agree with someone disrespecting the American flag but later backtracked on his comments and apologized. So with Drew Brees lining up under center for the Saints for seemingly the next two years, he’ll become the highest-paid player in NFL history.

Drew Brees will soon pass Eli Manning as the highest-paid player in NFL history

Drew Brees
Drew Brees | Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Through his first 19 seasons, Drew Brees has made $244.7 million, which put him in third place on the NFL’s all-time earnings list, behind only Peyton Manning ($248.7 million) and Eli Manning ($252.3 million). Obviously, adding $50 million to the money he’s already earned will put Drew Brees at $294.7 million, which will make him the highest-paid player in NFL history.

*All contract information courtesy of Spotrac