Daily Special, July 10, 2012

9

 

 

Nervous yet? Dave is. Mike is. I am.

Over at Canal Street Chronicles, Drew Brees is slowly evaporating. Dave has started a prediction contest: when will Drew sign a long-term contract? Will he sign a long-term contract? The angst is beginning to seep through my monitor.

Mike Florio, likewise, is beginning to prepare the way for the end times. He pointed out earlier that Brees will still have options after July 16 if he doesn’t sign; yesterday, he reported that the “buzz” is building that Brees will play under the franchise tag.

The smart money continues to ride on the situation being resolved.  But the smart money hasn’t been right yet on this one…

And me? Earlier, I regarded it as a good sign that we haven’t heard anything out of either camp. As the deadline creeps closer, you’d figure someone would take to negotiating through the media, wouldn’t you? But now it’s beginning to seem too quiet. I wonder if we’re not witnessing a stare-down. I think we can feel confident of one thing: Drew Brees ain’t gonna blink. It might take a boycott of Jimmy John’s to make him rethink his position, because this man has some serious financial alternatives. He’s not going to starve, lose his house, or be forced to rent himself out on Bourbon Street if he doesn’t play this season.

But there is another possibility that I haven’t seen discussed yet. Saints management obviously knows by now what they can afford to give Drew—as things stand now. There’s an offer on the table, and it’s a good one: it makes Drew the highest-paid player in the history of the NFL. But it might be (how?) that it’s not good enough. Maybe Drew wants more. Maybe he wants more guaranteed. Maybe he wants more up front. Maybe he wants more deferred. Who knows? But if it’s going to cost the Saints more money than they’ve already offered, and if the Saints are inclined to blink, it all comes down to one thing.

Who goes?

As things stand now, the Saints are so hard up against the ceiling of the salary cap they’ve got plaster in their hair. There is no more upward mobility: they have to lower the floor. And that means ditching a contract.

It’s not as simple as just matching up numbers and kicking to the curb whoever is making what Brees is asking for. There are penalties under the cap for cutting a player who was given a large, pro-rated bonus, so it’s entirely possible that it costs you more to cut a player than to keep him. Also, take into account that whole “who do we need” thing. You can’t just point and click.

Except in one case: Jonathan Vilma. Larry Holder gave an interview to WWL in which he speculated that Vilma has played his last game with the Saints. He’s suspended for a year; and the team already has signed his replacement, Curtis Lofton, and for big money at that. There are compelling reasons to believe that Vilma won’t be back. So why are they waiting to cut him?

The team was supposed to receive about $2 million in cap relief due to the suspensions of Vilma and Will Smith, and that should have happened as soon as Goodell ruled on their appeals. Has it? Don’t know; I haven’t heard. Maybe someone out there can point me to an article on this, but until that happens I’m assuming the cap relief is still on hold due to the upcoming player lawsuits and the possibility of a successful injunction against the suspensions.

It might be nothing other than Saints management not wanting to come off like a bunch of dicks for stepping on Vilma while he’s down. Or—who knows?—maybe they really do want the man back. Maybe they think he can win his case. But if they need extra room in order to sign Brees, there isn’t a better candidate for the ax. I hope that if it happens, fans realize that while we couldn’t have won the Super Bowl without Drew Brees, we wouldn’t have done so without Jonathan Vilma, either. It will be a sad day.

But all the angst might be for nothing. Mike Triplett ain’t buying into it. Of all the people covering this already overlong controversy, Triplett has been the one voice all along saying “Ah, come off it.” And he’s been right. Every rumor, every speculation, every pronouncement by what Mike Florio terms “the smart money” has been off. Triplett, all along, has insisted that the deal will get done somewhere near the deadline, and that Drew Brees will become the highest-paid player in the league. It hasn’t happened yet, so it might be simply that Triplett hasn’t yet had his opportunity to be more wrong than anyone. But for what it’s worth, I think he’s right.

It would be unthinkable for Brees to turn down something like $96 million because he wants $100 million, when the alternative is a one-year, $16.4 million deal under the franchise tag—and all the uncertainty and unhappiness that would come along with it.

I believe the deal will get done. It might get done today, who knows? But I will admit, I’m getting nervous. And not just for Drew.

On the Jukebox

Drew: time ain’t on your side. Don’t sit idly by.

Posted by Himself in Daily Specials | 9 comments

9 Comments

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  • The Angry Who DatJuly 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm

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    I don’t have a link to back this up, but I believe Vilma’s cap hit isn’t removed until week one of the season. So it can’t help the Saints meet the salary cap when the season begins.

    Unless, of course, they release him.

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    • shipJuly 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm

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      His suspension started immediately once announced, since it was for the entire year, and his lawsuit complains that he can’t rehab at Saint’s facilities.

      So I would presume his cap hit was listed immediately as well.

      Will Smith would be a different story–his suspension starts with Game 1 of the regular season.

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      • FriarBobJuly 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm

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        I think it should have taken effect immediately. But I suspect the Saints may be continuing to act as if it hasn’t because they don’t know yet whether his lawsuit and preliminary injuction will go anywhere. If it is granted, suddenly he’s no longer suspended and he’s back on the books again.

        I don’t know whether they hope for the injuction or dread the possibility of it. But they are probably having to “wait and see” because of it.

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        • FrenchieJuly 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm

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          Makes perfect sense. Except for the fact Vilma’s (and the rest of the bunch) cases could go on and on and on, and than some more…

          I doubt the front office will just handcuff itself waiting on that “ping-pong” game between Vilma and every aspect of the NFL he can sue. Besides, I have this blur souvenir of you demonstrating how cutting Vilma wouldn’t be THAT spectacular in terms of cap hit.

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  • FriarBobJuly 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm

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    I think we’re just going to have to learn to live without Drew. He either won’t sign at all or will be gone next year when we can no longer afford his franchise tag number. It doesn’t even matter who you blame more, whether Condon, Drew, or Mickey, really. It’s just simply not going to happen. Personally I blame Drew. I know lots of people who are pretty greedy, and at times I can be that myself. But there are sanity limits in anything. When you already have enough money your kids aren’t really going to have to work, do you really need enough money to pass that on to your grandkids? No, you don’t.

    Grow the hell up Drew. Stop trying to screw over the Saints (and more importantly Saints fans, you know, those people you claim to care so much about?) just because you’re pissed at the owners and Adolf Goodell. Fight them in the courts or other ways all you want with my blessings. But stop screwing over the fans in the process.

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  • Just Nother DayJuly 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm

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    If Vilma is cut (and I sincerely hope he isn’t) that could be a big “sympathy” card in his law suit. “I lost my entire career because of Roger Goodell, that fucking asshole. Ehh, sorry your honor.”

    “No problem, Mr. Vilma. It will NOT be stricken from the records.”

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    • Doc BoudinJuly 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm

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      Move to strike, your honor!

      On what grounds?

      That statement makes my client sound like a fucking asshole.

      Your client is a fucking asshole.

      Oh. Withdrawn.

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      • Just Nother DayJuly 11, 2012 at 5:22 am

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        I see the finer points of jurisprudence do not escapt you, my friend!

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        • Just Nother DayJuly 11, 2012 at 5:23 am

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          escape either.

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