The New Orleans Saints remain in a state of flux following the season-long suspension of head coach Sean Payton for the team’s much-publicized bounty system, was upheld by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell earlier this week.
The team has yet to name an interim replacement, and more punishment could be coming for specific players involved in the cash-for-hits scandal that continues to rock the league this offseason.
In short, the Saints appear to be a team in turmoil. But leave it to their superstar quarterback to remain calm under pressure, as has been his calling card since he arrived in New Orleans in 2006.
“Whatever’s thrown at us this year, we’ll continue to thrive,” Brees told reporters at a news conference Tuesday to promote his charity golf tournament. As for his nebulous status with the team, her preferred to play coy.
The Saints’ inability to re-sign their franchise quarterback — the quarterback who broke the single-season record for passing yards in 2011 — might have been the biggest story of the offseason were it not for the bounty scandal.
Instead, the team quietly slapped Brees with the franchise tag amid the commotion, meaning he will earn about $16 million in 2012. But he has yet to sign the tender, leaving many to wonder whether he will be on hand when the Saints begin their voluntary offseason program on Monday.
“We’re continuing to work on a long-term deal,” Brees said repeatedly when asked about it Tuesday.
How quickly that deal gets done is worth watching. Brees was the catalyst in his team’s well-attended workouts during the lockout last spring, and with its head coach unable to lead the Saints this year, they made need their quarterback more than ever.