Drew Brees Growing Frustrated With Contract Talks
Brees hasn't attended any offseason training so far this year, as he is attempting to make progress in the negotiating process of a long term deal. However, given the suspensions handed down due to the Bounty Scandal, Brees' presence at offseason workouts is as important as it has been in years. I'm sure that all football fans have heard by now that Saints' head coach Sean Payton is suspended for the entire 2012 season, which is a big blow to the Saints. Brees and Payton make the wheels turn for the Saints. They have a brother-like relationship and it shows on the field. They communicate as well as any coach/player combination in the entire league. A good relationship between the coach and the quarterback is essential to success in the NFL, and Brees/Payton have the strongest one in the league. Just look at them celebrate their Super Bowl victory (ignore the title, it was the only link I could find of this video). You don't see Brady and Belichick or Eli and Coughlin celebrating like that. These two are simply at a different level.
That being said, Brees needs to get himself to training camp this offseason to get himself acclimated to the new coaches that he'll be playing for, Pete Carmichael and Joe Vitt. Carmichael will be the head coach until Joe Vitt's six game suspension for his involvement in the bounty scandal is over, after which Vitt will be the head coach for the remainder of the season. These guys have been on the coaching staff for years, so Brees is somewhat familiar with them, but he is not familiar with them as head coaches. He still needs to build up his relationship and communication ability with these two. If you've ever seen Brees and Payton watching film and game planning (couldn't find the video of it), you understand that these guys are always on the same page. Brees needs to get to that point with the new coaches to maintain the success that the Saints have had in the past few years.
Brees doesn't need to get on the practice field to hone his skills and work with his teammates. He'll be working with more or less the same offensive weapons that he had last year. He just needs to be on the field with his new coaches as much as he possibly can. There is even more pressure on Brees and the offense this year due to the suspensions of defensive captains Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith. In addition, the Saints should feel pressure to get a deal done so they can free up their franchise tag for other players. They already lost Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks to the Bucs, a player who likely would have been franchise tagged had Brees been locked up long term. I do believe it's just a matter of time before the two sides work out a deal, but if the process of negotiation becomes a distraction it will hurt the development of the Saints' offense under their new head coaches.