Drew Brees has met his own deadline.
The 37-year-old quarterback has signed a two-year, $44.25-million extension that will keep him in New Orleans, the quarterback confirmed at his Wednesday pre-game press conference, and staves off the potential that the face of the Saints’ franchise could reach free agency after the 2016 season, according to The New Orleans Advocate.
Brees had said repeatedly that he would cut off any ongoing contract discussions once the season started.
The future Hall of Famer learned from the lessons of 2011, when he was peppered with questions about his contract before a tough negotiation with the Saints that resulted in a five-year, $100 million deal that was set to expire this season.
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“I don’t like to talk about contract during the season. If you go back to 2011, where it began to drag into the season, three weeks in I was like, I don’t want to deal with it anymore, I want to focus on football, I want to focus on the season,” Brees said in May. “There’s a deal to be done now, and if it doesn’t get done now, then there’ll be a different deal to get done at the end of the year.”
Brees’ belief in his ability to stay competitive as he plays into his late 30’s has remained steadfast.
An incredibly durable passer who has missed just two games in a decade in New Orleans, Brees has suffered no major structural injuries since the dislocated shoulder and torn labrum that Dr. James Andrews repaired in 2005, right before Brees became a member of the Saints.
Brees regularly works with throwing coach Tom House in the offseason to keep his arm and throwing motion sharp.
“I think that’s part of the training that we do together, is making sure that I can sustain at the level that I want to be at, playing at a high level for really as long as I want to do it,” Brees said in June. “We are trying to beat the aging process.”
Famously detailed about his physical preparation, Brees believes advances in nutrition and physical fitness, plus the game’s changing rules that protect quarterbacks, could allow him to play into his 40’s.
“I don’t see any reason why I can’t play at the highest level for the next five years minimum,” Brees said in June. “It really comes down to how long do I want to play.”
New Orleans is willing to bet he’ll continue to play at a high level at least for the next two years.