NEWORLEANS - The Saints placed an exclusive rights franchise tag on Drew Brees on Saturday, a designation that means he received a high dollar one-year contract and that only the Saints can engage in long term contract negotiations with the Pro Bowl quarterback, the club announced.

Between now and July 16, the Saints can still hammer out a long-term deal with Brees. The franchise tag stands after that date.

Under the rules of the franchise tag, Brees will make no less than the average of the top five salaries at his position or 120 percent of his previous years salary, whichever is greater.

At the Senior Bowl in January, Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis told WWLTV that the franchise tag had gotten a bad rap. He said that it shouldn't be looked at as a negative, but rather as a positive.

A placement of the franchise tag on any player means they consider him to be one of, if not the most important free agent on the team, Loomis said.

The last time the Saints applied the tag was with Charles Grant. The two sides eventually worked out a long term deal before training camp got underway.

It's being reported that Brees and the Saints are about $5 million apart in terms of finding common ground on a new contract.

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