NEW ORLEANS — Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints still must close a significant gap in guaranteed money if they are to agree on a five-year contract worth about $100 million by Monday's looming deadline for a long-term deal, said a person familiar with the negotiations.
The sides were more than $10 million apart in the guaranteed portion of the contract Wednesday, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because talks the talks are ongoing.
The stakes are high for both sides and the negotiations have lasted for months, including long gaps in communication between the two camps.
Brees, who is 33 and entering his 12th season, has never before had the chance to negotiate a contract on par with the elite quarterbacks of the game. The Saints, meanwhile, risk alienating the best quarterback in franchise history, not to mention their fan base, by failing to make an offer to his satisfaction by Monday — the deadline for players with the franchise tag to sign long-term deals.
Several months ago, Brees first raised the possibility that he would not report to the opening of training camp if all that was on the table at that time was the one-year franchise tag of about $16.3 million. People familiar with the quarterback's plans say that remains the case.