Bradley Handwerger / Sports Reporter
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METAIRIE, La. Despite time running short for the Saints and Drew Brees to agree to a new deal before the he becomes an unrestricted free agent, the Saints quarterback believes a contract will still get done.

'I'm very optimistic,' Brees said Thursday.'I know everybody's headed to the (NFL scouting) combine. I know my agent, Tom Condon will be there. I know that him and Mickey Loomis will be speaking. They've been speaking now for awhile.

'There's progress being made and I'm very confident, very hopeful that something will get done here in the next few weeks.'

Brees, 33, would become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins on March 13 if the Saints don't either sign him to a long-term contract or designate him with their franchise tag, which boasts a March 5 deadline.

His contract directly affects the rest of the team as his salary cap number would have to be accounted for.

That includes negotiations with All-Pro left guard Carl Nicks and receiver Marques Colston, who both would become unrestricted free agents as well.

Regardless, he's optimistic about how everything will turn out.

'Yes, absolutely,' Brees said. 'And I know there's a lot of guys that are a priority. This is just that time of year. There's always free agents, there's always guys you want to sign back and I know that we're all confident that we'll be able to get everyone back.'

When asked if was looking to become the highest-paid quarterback, Brees answered like a man who knows where his support comes from.

'I'm really not thinking about that at this point,' he said. 'I'm really just thinking about my career inNew Orleans, with this team, this city, this organization. Also as I look to the future of our team, it's important for everything to come together the way we want it to.'

He's on a six-season tear in which he has broken NFL and franchise records from the quarterback position, including the Mount Everest of league records yards passing in a season, finishing 2011 with 5,476.

He also owns the NFL record for completion percentage in a season, besting his 2009 record in 2011 at 71.2 percent.

Brees was on his way to the airport when he stopped at Jimmy John's, a restaurant he co-owns in Metairie. There he briefly met with fans as he tried to break a franchise record for sandwiches sold in a four-hour period.

He walked in from the left and was immediately mobbed by adoring fans, high-fiving some while hugging others.

'The fact that they came out to support and just say hello was great and just to be able to come through and shake hands and high five everybody,' said Brees, who mentioned that two more restaurants are in the works.

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