Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
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MOBILE, Ala. ― Mickey Loomis sat on the metal stands at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium, drops of rain slowly wetting his dark-colored sweater as some of the best college seniors practiced on the turf in front of him.
His most important job this offseason, however, deals not with those he’s helping scout at the Senior Bowl.
No, that would be getting Pro Bowl and record-setting quarterback Drew Brees under a long-term contract.
Should that happen, Loomis knows the repercussions.
“I’d probably be out of a job if he wasn’t, right?” Loomis said.
Brees is expected to earn among the biggest contracts in league history, one commensurate with the Colts’ Peyton Manning and the Patriots’ Tom Brady, in the ballpark of $18 million per year.
Loomis said he hopes to have the contract complete by the time free agency begins in mid-March. That would allow the Saints to use the franchise tag elsewhere, possibly with receiver Marques Colston or All Pro left guard Carl Nicks.
What will help, Loomis said, is that both parties are in agreement that they want to remain married.
“Hopefully the rest of it is just math and I was pretty good in math in my day and I think Drew is probably pretty good – in fact, I know he’s really good at math too,” Loomis said. “I think it’ll work out.”
And yet, there will be issues involved with the team as a whole that include Brees’ contract.
Loomis said the franchise has only “one pie” to work with, meaning that what goes to Brees takes away from what goes to everyone else.
That, more than anything, is what makes this offseason’s free agency period daunting, though necessarily more than last year’s, when the Saints had a group of 26 players hit the unrestricted market.
“The fact that Drew Brees is part of this free agent class makes it seem a little more daunting that it would be ordinarily,” Loomis said. “Look, less than eight months ago we had 26 unrestricted free agents a week before practice or a week-and-a-half before practice began. I don’t know that it gets any more daunting than that.”
Loomis, Brees and the quarterback’s agent, Tom Condon, worked prior to the 2011 season to get a contract completed. But that didn’t happen and, as of now, conversations haven’t picked back up.
But Condon is playing from at least one position of strength in the negotiations. He knows Brees means more to New Orleans than anyone else.
“This is a player we value a lot, more than any other player in the history of our team,” Loomis said.