New Orleans Saints

Saints’ Brees puts contract talk to bed, knows team needs to prepare for future without him

(Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)

Drew Brees keeps insisting that he isn’t worried about a contract extension, even though he is heading into the final year of his current deal.

And the 38-year-old quarterback also understands that the New Orleans Saints need to be “prepared” for a future without him at some point.

But Brees isn’t ready to recommend that they use one of their two first-round draft picks on his successor just yet.

“I’m trying to put the [contract] conversation to bed just by saying … we can worry about it at the end of the year. I think that’s what’s in the best interest of the team. It’s what’s in my best interest. It’s in the best interest of everybody,” said Brees, who has also insisted many times that it wouldn’t change his mindset if the team used a high draft pick on a quarterback.

However, when Brees was asked whether he would draft a quarterback if he were the general manager of a team with a veteran starter like himself, he said, “The flip side is if I’m gonna start and that quarterback sits, well that’s not helping our team right now [to draft a QB]. So I want somebody that’s gonna help our team right now. That’s the only difference.”

“Listen, when I leave here I want this organization to be successful, whenever that is. So I want them to be prepared for that. They need to be thinking about that. But I don’t want to make it seem like this is my farewell tour. That’s not the way I view it. I’m just trying to stress the sense of urgency here,” said Brees, who was speaking at a community event in New Orleans, in which he joined Habitat for Humanity and Marriott to build a home for a local family.

“We’re so focused on this year, just being in the moment, not thinking about anything beyond this and taking every other year as it comes. But also we’re building something here — we are building something. I feel like we have a window of opportunity.”

Brees reiterated that he believes he is capable of playing until he is 45 years old — insisting that he was the first one to make that claim before it became a popular topic recently with Tom Brady. (Both quarterbacks have made similar comments for the past several years, though Brees did talk at length about it in the summer of 2014.)

“For the record, I was the first to say that I could play till I was 45, and that was three years ago prior to training camp. Am I right?” Brees said. “I said it just to make the point that I feel great and I love my routine, and every offseason I evaluate where I’m at, I assess what I need to do to get better, the areas I think I can tweak, things I might want to experiment with. There’s more and more information we’re able to get as far as diet and nutrition and training habits, recovery, all those things. … And I feel like I can play till 45 if I wanted to do that.

“Now I want to go out on my terms. I might play till I’m 45, but I’m not gonna sit here and sell you something that I don’t know to be the case. I just want to play at a high level. I want to help us win a championship.”

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