Let's talk about Drew Brees for a minute. The Super Bowl winning quarterback is still involved in contract negotiations with the New Orleans Saints and, perhaps surprisingly, the majority of fans and members of the media appear to be seeing Brees as the villain in the current impasse in negotiations.
Drew Brees is wrong to expect to be paid as an elite quarterback in the NFL? Brees is proving disloyal to the Saints and their owners by forgetting how they took a risk on him after his injury? Brees is a product of Sean Payton's system and therefore doesn't deserve to be seen as a top-flight quarterback?
Are you kidding me?
Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, bar none. He's up there with Brady, Manning, Manning and anyone else you want to dub "elite" in this day and age. He's outplayed his original contract with New Orleans and proven his loyalty to the team that took a chance on him 1) by providing the team with top-calibre quarterback play over the life of the deal, 2) by playing right through the contract, even though his compensation didn't match his performance, and 3) by throwing himself into the community of New Orleans and becoming the face of the franchise during troubled times.
And to suggest he's just a system quarterback who doesn't deserve to be paid at the level of the truly elite pivots in the NFL is just ludicrous. Tom Brady is a "system quarterback" if there ever was one and no one seems to be questioning his contract. We'll find out this season just how well Peyton Manning plays once he's been removed from the comfortable surroungings of Indy and into a different situation (and slightly different system) in Denver.
Brees played well in San Diego beforehis injury and welll in New Orleans after it. He's a proven player, a versatile athlete, a talented quarterback.
If I'm Drew Brees, I'm wondering at this point if I really want to return to the mess that's become of the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are in for some tough times over the next year or so, thanks to Bounty Gate and all that, so they need Brees to continue to be the face of the club, the steady leader both on and off the field.
But does Brees need the team? I'm not so sure. Plenty of teams out there would be only to happy to bring a proven, successful and honourable player like Drew Brees in to lead their offences.
Maybe the Saints management team needs to recognise how badly their club needs Brees, not just on the football field but as the face of the organisation, before they make a mistake they'll long regret by forcing him to consider his other options.