I hope Mark Ingram knows what he’s doing. I’m sure Drew Brees does.
So, as we say goodbye to the early days of the annual feeding frenzy of free agency and the return of NFL normalcy, the New Orleans Saints 2019 roster begins to take shape and surprisingly includes 26-year-old backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
It also will include free agents defensive tackle Malcom Brown (three years, $15 million) and running back Latavius Murray (four years, $14.4 million) but not defensive end, Alex Okafor, who signed a three-year, $24 million contract with Kansas City.
Expect the comings and going to continue for a little while longer.
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Let’s begin with Brees. He agreed to restructure his contract and reduce his salary cap number from $33.5 million to $22.7 million, resulting in a cap savings of $10.8 million and enabling team officials to meet other pressing needs. They converted $9.65 million of base salary and $11.95 million of roster bonus from his original two-year, $50 million contract that he signed in March 2018.
That leaves Brees with a $1.4 million base salary this season.
Now, don’t feel sorry for ol’ No. 9. He pocketed a restructured bonus of $21.6 million at the time of the signing.
To which I say, the more things change, the more they remain the same.
Brees is two months north of 40 as he enters the final year of his contract, and Bridgewater returns for his second tour of duty as Brees’ understudy. Bridgewater reportedly turned down more money and an opportunity to start with his hometown team in Miami, suggesting he and his reps may be privy to Brees’ future plans.
After considering his options, Bridgewater signed a one-year, $7.25 million contract in New Orleans with a chance to earn an additional $5.25 million in playing and performance incentives. A shrinking quarterback market and a chance to pursue the Lombardi Trophy and continue working with Brees and Saints coach Sean Payton weighed heavily in Bridgewater’s final decision.
Time will tell if Bridgewater succeeds Brees in New Orleans. I’m reluctant to call Bridgewater the heir apparent with wildcat QB/athlete extraordinaire Taysom Hill still lurking on the roster.
With regards to Ingram, he now is the property of the Baltimore Ravens after agreeing to a three-year, $15 million contract. The annual average is approximately $500,000 more per year than what Saints officials reportedly offered, suggesting Ingram no longer wanted to continue his highly productive time-share role with running mate Alvin Kamara.
Nothing personal I’m sure. They seemed two peas in a pod as Boom & Zoom, the record-setting running back tandem that wreaked weekly havoc on opposing defenses.
Who knows? Maybe Ingram and Latavius Murray will become known as Zoom & Re-Zoom.