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Posted at 01:22 PM ET, 05/17/2012

Drew Brees calls talks with Saints “extremely frustrating”


Drew Brees attended a “paddle out” in Oceanside, Calif., to honor the late Junior Seau. (Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images)
An NFL team desperately in need of a positive headline and a feel-good story isn’t getting one from its quarterback.

Contract talks between the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees continue to go nowhere. Now, though, the situation is reaching a new level of concern.

“There's always a back and forth when it comes to these negotiations,” Brees said in an interview with WWL Radio’s Deke Bellavia. “But I know we've reached out on quite a few occasions. And at times, I know I've been frustrated with the lack of response. I would just say there should be a sense of urgency, and yet it seems like there's not.”

Just what is going on here? Brees is a community leader as well as a sports icon in New Orleans. Which side is dragging this out? Mike Triplett of the Times-Picayune says both are.

Neither has offered to narrow the gap in their contract demands as talks have been practically silent for more than a month. And even if they talk on a daily basis, nothing will change until they're truly ready to make some financial adjustments.
If Brees really wants the wait to end, he could probably sign a five-year deal worth around $19 million per year today. And if the Saints really want the wait to end, they could probably get it done for around $21 million per year.
Instead, Brees' agent Tom Condon and Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis are waiting for the pressure to mount.

Brees wasn’t discussing his demands, but he isn’t going anywhere, at least immediately. The Saints have placed a franchise tag on him, a one-year offer at $16.3 million. He has not, however, signed it, and wants a long-term deal. July 16 is the deadline by which franchised players must sign long-term deals or take one-year contracts.

“It's been extremely frustrating for me,” Brees said. “I didn't think the negotiation really should have been this difficult. But here we are.” The Saints have been preoccupied with the fallout from the bounty system for which the NFL has punished them, “but I'd like to think this is certainly a priority,” Brees said.

Meanwhile, pages are flying off the NFL calendar — the Saints’ first organized team activity is May 22 and it seems unlikely that Brees will show. “I'm going to be as prepared as I can possibly be with whatever happens. So if that means missing OTAs, missing minicamp, missing training camp, I will be as ready as I can possible be,” he said. “I know there's no way you can simulate those things anywhere else other than being on the field with your team. But I have a plan, so I'll execute that plan as I need to.”

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By  |  01:22 PM ET, 05/17/2012

 
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