The NFL’s all-time leading passer, Drew Brees, is weighing his options out this off-season. The 41-year-old needs to determine whether he wants to return for his 20th season or end his career to spend more time with his wife and children.
Weighing the options
The decision is not an easy one for Brees, especially considering the fact that his four children are growing up right before his eyes. Baylen Brees, who is most remembered as an infant being hoisted by Brees following the Saints Super Bowl victory a decade ago, is now 10 years old and the oldest of his four children. Brees is one of the few quarterbacks of his generation remaining in the league. Eli Manning recently decided to hang up the cleats. Meanwhile, questions circle around the futures of Tom Brady, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger.
Brees has already announced that the Saints are the only team he will play for next season if he does in fact return. He has spent the past 14 seasons alongside head coach, Sean Payton. When asked about the team’s contract talks with Brees, Payton assured the process will “end the right way.” He went on to say that spending time with his family before reaching a final decision is “healthy for [Brees].”
If Brees returns
Brees does not have much else to prove; he has set nearly every record among quarterbacks.
His records include career passing yards, career passing touchdowns, as well as both career and single-season completion percentage. Additionally, he is a Super Bowl MVP and has made 13 pro bowls throughout his career. When all is said and done, he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. So what’s so enticing about the idea of Brees returning? Well, he has a chance to add another Super Bowl to his resume and go out on top. It is certainly a feasible goal if he wishes to pursue it. The Saints are coming off three consecutive NFC South titles and back-to-back 13-3 seasons.
This is not to mention how the previous three seasons have left a bad taste in the mouths of Saints players, coaches and fans. First was the Minnesota Miracle, second was the missed pass interference call versus the Rams, and third was a disappointing home loss to the Vikings in which Brees was outplayed by Kirk Cousins. In a perfect world, Brees would win next year’s Super Bowl to end his career on a high note. With that said, the path to the Super Bowl is only getting more challenging with age and with young superstars like Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson taking over the quarterback position.
If Brees retires, the future at quarterback for the Saints is a big question mark. Teddy Bridgewater, who helped the Saints to five straight wins during Brees’ absence, is set to become a free agent this off-season. If he re-signs, the Saints may utilize a committee at the quarterback position featuring Taysom Hill. Hill is perhaps the most versatile player on the Saints and has sat behind Drew Brees for three seasons now. He has shown flashes not only as a thrower of the football, but also as a runner and receiver. Last season, Hill caught seven touchdown passes and rushed for another.
Even if the Dallas native does return, the Saints will still rely heavily on Hill. In an interview, Drew Brees said the team should “call the plays that are going to put [them] in the best position to win” in the event that he returns. Brees went on to say “if that means Taysom Hill is taking 30 snaps a game…, I’m all for that.”
If Brees retires and Bridgewater fails to resign, Hill will move up two spots on the depth chart and become the Saints new quarterback.