Following another season ending short of reaching the Super Bowl, the New Orleans Saints are heading into the offseason with questions around star quarterback Drew Brees‘ NFL future. Brees is entering it without a new deal in place, which has put a shadow over his playing days in the league. Although the Saints have expressed a strong desire to have Brees back in the mix for at least another season, reports are surfacing that could suggest that may be due to one long-term reason.
Drew Brees’ 2019 campaign
The Saints entered this past season highly motivated to bounce back after falling short in the NFC Championship Game in disappointing fashion.
However, things went south for Brees as he suffered a torn thumb ligament against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2 action. Brees missed the next five games, which the team went 5-0 in his absence, further pushing their way up towards one of the top records in the league.
The 41-year-old returned to the field in Week 8 action that saw him finish the year out strong with 25 of his 27 touchdown passes in the final nine games played. That included him throwing at least three touchdown passes seven times, which he ended the regular season reaching that mark in four straight games.
Brees finished the regular season with 27 touchdown passes to four interceptions, along with 2,979 passing yards on 74.3% completion rate and a 116.3 passer rating. That also saw him surpass future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning to become the all-time leader in touchdown passes in NFL history. Brees has shown he has plenty left in the tank to play at a high level, but there are questions around whether he will return for his 20th season.
Saints’ quarterback plans beyond Drew Brees
Since the end of the 2019 season, Brees has strayed away from committing to playing another year.
It was something that he touched upon during an interview before the Pro Bowl as he stated that he would need weeks and potentially months to make a decision on his NFL future. At the same time, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has reported that the Saints do want Brees to come back another year, but that Taysom Hill would be the long-term answer starting in the 2021 campaign.
As one source explained it to PFT, the Saints wants Brees back for what would essentially become a transition year, from Brees to Taysom Hill with Hill becoming the starter in 2021. Even if Brees comes back, Hill will be used much more extensively as part of the team’s offense in 2020 — especially in light of some private regret that, if Hill had been utilized just a little bit more in the wild-card loss to the Vikings, the Saints quite likely would have won the game.
The Saints have been quite high on Hill as he’s been a vital part of the offense despite not playing under center in his role. New Orleans has utilized him as a runner, receiver, and even on special teams. However, the switch to full-time quarterback may be likely due to Teddy Bridgewater departing in free agency for an opportunity where he could compete for a starting job and not wait another year.
Nonetheless, this is yet another wrinkle in the situation that could make things quite intriguing in New Orleans as Brees works through his decision.
Drew Brees’ NFL fate in his own hands
It’s quite clear that Brees still has plenty left in the tank to play at a high level at this point in his illustrious career.
There is no chatter or indication that he would entertain playing anywhere else if he does decide to play another season. Regardless of what this recent report suggests, the Saints do want Brees back under center so that they can get another shot at competing for a Super Bowl.
If he does choose to continue to play, this time around with his contract will give more clarity in terms of how much longer he wants to play. All in all, Brees dictates his future in the league, and he decides to hang them up after 19 seasons; he has more than ensured a first-ballot Hall of Fame induction when he times comes.