The New Orleans Saints quarterback position has low-key been one of the most interesting stories in NFL free agency this year. Questions surrounded all three of the team’s quarterbacks. Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, and Taysom Hill all had the potential to leave the team after a very successful 13-3 season in 2019.
Brees was an unrestricted free agent and talking about retiring at the age of 41. Many teams were interested in signing one-time Vikings starting QB Teddy Bridgewater who was also a free agent. And restricted free agent Taysom Hill said he was expecting to be viewed, and paid, as a franchise quarterback.
After all the dust settled, Brees ended up signing a two-year deal worth around $50 million. Bridgewater ended up signing a huge deal with the Carolina Panthers to replace Cam Newton. And Hill ended up signing a one-year deal worth around $4.6 million to return to New Orleans.
So the Saints went from possibly having no quarterbacks to having two of the three returning in 2020. Not bad.
However, according to NFL insider Adam Schefter, Brees already had one foot out the door during the Pro Bowl, telling teammates and coaches that he was planning to retire.
Now speculation has to begin with wondering what Brees knew when.
Did he know his contemporary Tom Brady was more than likely going to be playing for Tampa Bay in 2020? Brady’s announcement that he was not returning to New England came less than two hours before Brees’ announcement that he’d signed a new deal with New Orleans.
Did he know Teddy Bridgewater was going to be playing somewhere other than New Orleans? It was pretty well known by the time Brees signed his new deal that he Bridgewater was going to sign with another team.
Is he coming back just to groom Taysom Hill to be the Saints’ next starting quarterback, as he has said he is willing to do? And will he be splitting even more time with Hill in the 2020 season as the team makes that transition?
Getting paid $25 million a year to be a tutor while also cutting down on his body’s wear and tear since he is 41-years-old might have looked pretty attractive to a guy who had reportedly decided he was going to retire.
Or is he just coming back because, even at his age, he still had the second highest QB rating in the NFL in 2019, completing 74.3% of his passes while throwing for 27 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions in 11 games?
It was probably a combination of all of those things, and as fans, we’re probably all the better for it.