New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Local Media Availability
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Does the structure of the contract extension with the Saints also allow you to reevaluate things after two years as well, and the state of this franchise, as much as they'll do the same with you?
"One of the things I love about this organization is that this organization doesn't spare any expense to try to do everything possible to put us in the best position to win. I cannot say it is like that everywhere else. In fact, I know that it is not like that everywhere else. I'd say that we have something unique here, and that is from the top down. It starts with our owner, Mr. (Tom) Benson. I've seen him do a lot of things that I don't think other owners would do to give us everything we need to be successful. Whether it is making the food a little bit better in the cafeteria or putting us in a nicer hotel with a nicer bed on the road or taking us to a training camp where we are going to get better conditions so that we can get more work done. Mr. Benson's always been our biggest advocate and willing to do whatever possible to put us in the best position to succeed. That goes for acquiring players too. He might be the most competitive guy in the building and there are some competitive guys in this building. It really starts with the example that he's set for all of us. He gives us a ton of confidence in doing that, and also I think we all feel a great sense of responsibility to prove him right and come through for everything that he has done for us."
Does not having more years on this extension push you to prove who you are in some way, even though you've done so much?
"Yes, of course it does, to a degree. I have always felt like I get more satisfaction in proving people right that believe in me versus proving the doubters wrong along the way. There is always motivation. I am always going to create a chip on my shoulder regardless of what it is. Regardless of whether this was a five-year guaranteed deal or a one-year (deal), my mindset remains the same in regards to my preparation and approach."
I know the union is really concerned with player safety, (as well as) the National Football League; on the field, do you notice football being played any differently over the last couple of years? Can you envision a game that is radically different than the one that is played today?
"The game is still played the same. Obviously, the rules have changed so maybe that hit that a guy would go for, you know a safety on receiver across the middle – he's changing his launch point a little because he does not want to get fined 25 grand or 50 grand for that hit. I think in the past when a guy would get hit and it was obvious that he was knocked out or woozy, that was a great thing and everybody was jumping around cheering like 'yes, you knocked him out'. Now, I think the mindset is a little bit different like, 'aw man, somebody go out there and make sure that he's okay."
Do (your) boys play?
"Oh, yes. They knock the crap out of each other."
A very popular sentiment among fans, and in particular with quarterbacks and their high salaries, is to leave some (money) on the table so that they can build a better team around them. It seems like you did that a little bit in this case but is that easier said than done?
"Like I said, there were a bunch of factors in the deal, as we have kind of gone through the process. My mentality's to play for this period of time. I wanted the contract to reflect that naturally, and have it be the last contract that I sign kind of a thing. But it was in the best interest of the team to make it a little bit shorter and I think that just made everyone a bit more comfortable, and it still put us in a position to go out and do the things that we need to do to continue to build the team and put us in the best position to succeed. That, to me, was the most important thing."
How curious are you to see what type of team comes out week one ready to go, considering offensively you have had some troubles and defensively you've added new parts? How curious are you to see what this product is against the Raiders come Sunday?
"I am always excited to see what it looks like at the start of the season. You get a feeling obviously going through OTAs and then training camp, and then being around the guys and watching the chemistry build and comradery. I'd say we've got a great group, and a really tight group too. Now, you want that to translate to wins and success. I know it's important for us to start fast. There's a great sense of urgency there. In years that we have been really good here, we have started fast. That is definitely something that is being talked about and there is a great sense of urgency there."
Are you excited to get the deal out of the way, in the time frame you wanted and kind of move on and forward?
"Yeah, listen first of all, I'm humbled and honored and have been since the day that I step foot in here as a New Orleans Saint. It's been an incredible journey and I hope to continue that journey for quite a bit longer and there are these processes that you have all been here to see and be a part of yourself. I know that you guys have to deliver some tough questions along the way. I think like I have always said, these contract situations are indeed just a part of the process and they all happen in due time and when they are supposed to. Both sides are very happy, certainly I am very happy. I want to play my entire career here and I'm just taking it one step at a time, one year at a time, one opportunity at a time. This allows me to be around here for a little bit longer. I'll be here as long as they will have me."
Can you give us some insight into how this whole process was for you?
"It's probably a bit more complicated than it should be. There are a lot of factors along the way. At the end of the day, Mickey (Loomis) has a job and a responsibility to do, as does Coach Payton, as do I. The thing that we are all very much aligned on is what puts this team in the best position to win and make a run at a championship. I appreciate the opportunity to be here, the opportunity to be the quarterback of this football team. I very much respect Mickey (Loomis), our management, Mr. Benson, Gayle (Benson) and (Sean) Payton. It's very rare to be in a place where you have that consistency over the course of a long career. I'm honored that they have this faith and confidence in me to want to continue to help me be the quarterback of this team."
Do you think you could have theoretically got more money elsewhere, but you just wanted to get this deal done? I mean that was not obviously the biggest thing for you right?
"It's not like I was a free agent and even had that opportunity at this point. But no, my goal all along has been to remain a New Orleans Saint. That was the objective this entire negotiation. To find something that was very fair for both sides and try to put our team in the best position to make a run at a championship and sustain that for a long time. Not just this year, I'm talking about years to come"
How important and because it's only a one-year extension, was it to not have this looming over you and the team headed into the season. To have something temporarily in place.
"My approach is the same regardless if I have a five-year deal or a one-year deal. In my mind, you're always playing on one-year deals. Playing on one-game deals. You have to prove it each and every week. You're only as good as your next performance. That will always be my mindset."
What were some of the things that happened today? Did you come off of the practice field and sign the contract? Take us through whatever you can.
"I literally signed the contract five minutes ago. So I think we pretty much agreed to everything and it was kind of getting the paper work aligned and obviously the day started early for me in preparation, meetings and practice. When I came off the field I headed up to Mickey (Loomis) and Khai (Harley) and signed the contract and here we are."
This new deal over the next two years is the second highest average annual value just behind Andrew Luck. How does it feel to accomplish something like that at the age of 37?
"Well again, I am just humbled and honored to play this game, and to continue to play this game at this stage and to have a team that believes in me the way they do."
You know what elite quarterbacks make in this league. So how do you gauge that as a player. Especially at your age wanting to get paid the right amount but also wanting to balance the cap and the ramifications it could have on your team being able to get other players in here?
"The cap situation to me was the most important element to this. Over the next few years, putting our team in the best situation to be able to keep talent and acquire talent and trying to find the right guys that fit what we are trying to accomplish here."
Was there ever a point this summer that you thought this might not get done?
"I will be honest, I did not dwell on this. Because this is the first time in my career that I have got an extension prior to the expiration of my previous contract. Every contract I have signed as a player has gone to the very end. Four years in San Diego and the contract was up and I got franchised. At the end of my franchise year that's when I became a free agent and that's when I signed with New Orleans. That was (for) 6 years. I did all 6 years of that and did a new deal. Now we are four years into that five-year deal and I was able to extend. It's not like something I haven't done before. I have done it three times before. While there is some security knowing that you have a two-year guarantee deal versus one year and then what happens. Again, my mindset is always everything happens for a reason. Everything will happen the way it's supposed to."
Would you have ideally wanted more than just one year so we are not visiting the same conversation again next year?
"I plan to play for longer than two years. I think my mindset going into this was to be able to secure a deal that would take me to as long as I plan to play. This was what was in the best interest of the team, so this is why it was a two-year deal."
Was part of your signing bonus getting Jahri (Evans) back?
"It's a package deal. Great to have the big fella back, obviously so many great years with Jahri (Evans) here. He is such a mainstay for such a long time and such a huge part of the foundation. He is one of the OG's, one of the originals. (It's) Great to have him back and we will see the role he plays and for guys that have played with him, I mean really Max (Unger), Senio (Kelemente), Tim (Lelito), (Zach) Strief, all of the guys right now all played with him last year or for more than a that. (Zach) Strief was right next to him for a long time. There was a smile on everybody's face when they saw Jah (Jahri Evans) walk in the building knowing he is back."
Do the Raiders look like a playoff team?
"They are extremely talented and they have a great quarterback (Derek Carr), who I think we all look at and say this guy will be one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Defensively, they have some playmakers. Khalil Mack is one of the best, if not the best pass rusher in the league. A guy that you have to a have a plan for and you have to know where he is. They went out and signed Sean Smith, corner from Kansas City, big, strong, physical guy. Their front seven is big. Ken Norton Jr. has done a great job (as) Defensive Coordinator and I know Jack Del Rio has his hand on that as well. Both those guys have been great defensive coaches in this league for a longtime, so you know the scheme is sound, it's good and they are going to play it well. I think like any young team, the coaching staff has only been (there a year) this being there second year. I think now they've been able to institute their systems, both offensively and defensively and just even last year you saw the improvement from week to week and then I know the expectations coming in from them (Raiders coaches). They have the ability to be a very good football team."
Did you ever start to wonder if the Saints would meet your deadline?
"I think things begin to pick up over the last week or two. I was confident that we would be able to get something done. I really can't say I was too concerned."
Is there a no-trade clause?
"Yeah, no-trade clause."
What is your take on the roster churn before the season?
"It's always like that. Did we know that Paul Kruger would be on our team? No, I mean transactions were made elsewhere that affected you and you say, wow, we have the opportunity to get that player. I mean he can be a real difference maker for us and so you go get him, well how does that now affect your roster, because you had in mind your 53. Now you have to make a move now elsewhere and then maybe that move has a trickle down affect with other positions too. It's never an exact science just because you don't know and you may be a little bit heavy at one group and a little bit light, in regards to the number of bodies and some of it's gameplanning from week to week. Depending on who you're playing, depending on the matchups, depending on the game plan that's going to determine who's up and down. Who may be dressing out and who is not? Again, there are a lot of factors that go into that, but certainly at the end of the year it becomes somewhat like a best available situation. Where all of a sudden you get a chance to get this guy, he can be a real difference maker for us. Let's do it."
Will you find yourself making a lot of introductions in the locker room this week?
"Yeah, I mean that's always the interesting part. I mean we've made moves like that where all of a sudden a guys playing and I'm throwing a pass to him and he's been here three days. Hey, that's the way it is, you know, get on the same page with them and instill confidence in him and let's go."
Were you sad to see (Garrett) Grayson go?
"I mean you hate to see that, especially a guy that was in our room now, for the last year and a half and you felt like you spent time with them and certainly the coaching staff has spent a lot of time with him. I call that at this point just one of those (roster churn moves). Where you need a roster spot and all of a sudden you have to make a move somewhere and you're evaluating who's going to play in the game and where the value positions are and unfortunately, someone had to go and I hope that he comes back and we have an opportunity to have him back and we'll see how that plays out, but he is a good kid who obviously, if continues to work could have a bright future."