A look at the Drew Brees press conference as he announces his contract renewal with the New Orleans Saints on September 7, 2016.
Whether it was a gentle Brees or a sigh of relief, the winds that swept through New Orleans on Wednesday carried the news that the franchise quarterback will be wearing Black and Gold for the next two seasons.
The five-year extension that Saints quarterback Brees signed voids after two years, and includes a no-trade clause, and reportedly ensures that he will receive a guaranteed $44.25 million. His salary cap number lowers this season from $30 million to $17.25 million.
Most important for Brees and the Saints, though, is that the best player in franchise history continues his trek to the Hall of Fame in a Saints uniform. And that the franchise that has had one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history attempts to extend its run of productivity behind the 16-year veteran who enters the season fourth on the league's all-time list for passing yards (60,903) and attempts (8,085), third in touchdowns (428) and completions (5,365), and first in 5,000-yard seasons (four).
Brees had set a deadline of the regular-season opener of having an extension completed before shutting down negotiations until the offseason. The Saints open against the Raiders on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
"I'm humbled and honored, and have been from the day that I first stepped foot in here as a New Orleans Saint," Brees said. "It's been an incredible journey and I hope to continue that journey for quite a bit longer. Like I've always said, these contract situations are indeed just a part of the process. They all happen in due time, they all happen when they're supposed to.
"Both sides are very happy. Certainly, I'm 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. But this allows me to be around here for a bit longer, and I'll be here as long as they'll have me.
"(The negotiation was) probably a bit more complicated than it should be. But there's a lot of factors along the way. At the end of the day, (General Manager) Mickey (Loomis) has a job and a responsibility to do, as does Coach (Sean) Payton, as do I. The thing that we all are very much aligned on is what puts this team in the best position to win, and in the best position to make a run at a championship.
"I appreciate the opportunity to be here to quarterback this football team. I very much respect Mickey and our management, and (Saints owner) Mr. (Tom) Benson and (wife) Gayle, and Coach Payton. It's pretty rare to be in a place where you have that kind of consistency over the course of a long career. I'm just honored that they would have that type of faith and confidence in me, to want to continue to have me be the quarterback of this team."
Last season, Brees' 10th as a Saint, was one of his best. Despite missing his first game as a result of injury, Brees led the league in passing yards (4,870 yards in 15 games), completing 428 of 627 passes (68.3 percent), with 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
"My goal, all along, has been to remain a New Orleans Saint," he said. "That was the objective. This entire negotiation was (to) find something that was very fair for both sides, and try to put our team in the best positon to make a run at a championship, and sustain that for a long time.
"The cap situation, to me, was the most important element to this. Over the next few years, putting our team in the best position to be able to keep talent and acquire talent, and the right type of guys that fit what we're trying to accomplish here."
Brees said he plans to play longer than two years, and originally hoped to sign a deal that would ensure he would be a Saint for the duration of his career.
"But this was what was in the best interest of the team, and so, that's why it was a two-year deal," he said.
Undoubtedly, though, Brees said he extended his stay in the place he is most comfortable.
"One of the things I love about this organization is, this organization has not spared any expense to try to do everything possible to put us in the best position to win," he said. "I can't say it's like that everywhere else. In fact, I know it's not like that everywhere else. So I would say we have something unique here, and that is from the top down.
"It starts with our owner, Mr. Benson. I've seen him do a lot of things that I don't think other owners would do to give us everything that we need to be successful, whether it's making the food a little bit better in the cafeteria, or putting us up in a nicer hotel with a nicer bed on the road, or taking us to a training camp (at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.) where we're going to get better (weather) conditions so we can get more work done.
"Mr. Benson has always been our biggest advocate and willing to do whatever possible to put us in the best position to succeed, and 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 has set for all of us, and he gives us that kind of confidence in doing that. And I think we all feel a great sense of responsibility to prove him right and come through for everything he has done for us."