However, Thomas dealt with an ankle injury all season and only appeared in seven regular-season games. While he returned for the playoffs, the three-time Pro Bowler was a non-factor in the Saints’ Divisional Round game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
New Orleans lost to Tampa Bay at home by a final score of 30-20. Drew Brees, one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, is expected to retire. However, in classic Brees fashion, he’s giving the Saints one last win before riding off into the sunset.
Drew Brees is the NFL’s all-time leader in career passing yards
Drew Brees will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer one day. He is the NFL’s all-time leader in career passing yards (80,358) and ranks second all-time in touchdown passes (571) and completion percentage (67.7%).
A 13-time Pro Bowler, Brees went 172-114 as a starter in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers and Saints. He led the league in passing yards seven times during his legendary career and recorded 53 game-winning drives.
During the 2009 season, Brees led the Saints to the Super Bowl, where New Orleans defeated Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Brees was named Super Bowl MVP for tying a Super Bowl record by completing 32 of 39 passes. He threw for 288 passing yards and tossed two touchdowns.
The Chargers drafted Brees with the 32nd overall pick in the 2001 draft. It was incredible to watch the Texas native bounce back from his devastating shoulder injury and establish himself as the most prolific passer in NFL history.
As he got older, Brees’ arm strength began to wear off. The 2020 season was a rough one for the gunslinger, as he dealt with a collapsed lung and multiple fractured ribs. In the playoff game against the Buccaneers, Brees threw for 134 yards and one touchdown. He was intercepted three times, and it was clear as day that he wasn’t close to 100%.
While Drew Brees has not yet announced whether he officially plans to retire, the latest move he pulled is a clear signal that he’s ready to walk away from the game.
Drew Brees agrees to reduce his 2021 salary
Drew Brees has agreed to reduce his 2021 salary from $25 million to $1.075 million, per ESPN’s Mike Triplett. The move will free up nearly $24 million in salary-cap space for the Saints.
Before this move, Brees was scheduled to count $36.15 million against the cap in 2021. Now, he will count just $12.225 million against the cap until June 1. That figure will be reduced to $11.15 million after Brees officially retires.
Saints coach Sean Payton expects Brees to announce his future plans within a week or two. Everyone inside the New Orleans organization believes Brees will retire, which means Payton will have to start Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill at quarterback in 2021.
Drew Brees and Sean Payton have experienced a lot of success together, although many pundits are surprised the Saints only won one Super Bowl during the Brees era.
The Saints want to re-sign Jameis Winston
Sean Payton told NFL Network that the Saints want to re-sign Jameis Winston. The former No. 1 overall pick becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
With Drew Brees set to retire, Winston will likely be back in New Orleans next season.
“We had a great exposure for one year with Jameis Winston,” Payton told NFL Network. “We didn’t have a normal offseason, but we had enough time to see what we had with him as a player, as a leader, and as an athlete. I really like what we had a chance to see. He was a tremendous leader for this team. That’s hard to do when you come in new in free agency your first year as a backup quarterback. So that’ll be an important checkmark for us.”
Stats courtesy of Football Reference.