|Photo: Chris Graythen - Getty Images|
Winning has never been cheap.
Beyond that, great players in the NFL have never signed new contracts with a special discount. This same truth applies directly to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
After weeks upon weeks of contract negotiations, and the immediate and looming threat of a total hold-out, New Orleans finally ironed out a five-year $100 million contract with Brees.
Of that $100 million, $60 million of it is guaranteed cash.
That's right — the hammer of 100.
That note that Brees signed, for those keeping track at home, shatters any previous contract for a quarterback in NFL history. The Saint of the Saints is now the record-holder for most guaranteed money in a single shabang.
Even though that deal will make some nauseated and others green with envy — the bottom line is that now that Brees is on board for the 2012 season guaranteed, this is an entirely new lease on life for the Saints.
Forget that New Orleans is without Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Jonathan Vilma for a second. Let's focus on what this team has. Of course, Brees. But beyond that, an incredibly deadly offense, a talented defense and a passionate beyond passionate fan base.
That's the kicker.
Despite these Cold War Era sanctions on New Orleans, this team still very much has a chance to contend with the top teams in the NFL. It won't be easy, and it certainly won't be as smooth as past years. But this team has the pieces, with now the most important one in Brees, it's just a matter of putting it together.
That's where having #9 back and satisfied with a hefty new deal is going to pay incredible dividends.
Under the leadership of Brees (the value of that can't be understated in New Orleans, especially given the current situation), this team is only a short jump away from serious contention. For those who are writing the Saints off this early on, forget about it.
This team is equally as good as before, minus a few components. It's nothing that Brees hasn't dealt with in the past and been forced to cover-up throughout his career. For someone like him, this is par for the course and another day on the job.
Watch out, NFL. Who Dat is still around and more prevalent than ever.
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