They have until July 16th to reach a new deal, otherwise, Brees will have to play under the franchise tag for the 2012-2013 season.
Brees deserves a lot of money because he has a major role in the Saints franchise, and he's one of the instrumental figures in the team's resurrection.
Given all of the harsh media spotlight on the Saints, the back-and-forth between Brees and Tom Benson is an extremely frustrating sight.
The Saints placed the franchise tag on Brees for the 2012 season for $16.4 million. He will argue that if the Saints also place the tag on him for the 2013 season, they will owe him a 44 percent raise, which would bring the total to nearly $24 million for one season...The counter argument is that because this would be just the second time the Saints would have franchised him, they should give Brees just a 20 percent increase, which would bring his 2013 salary to roughly $19.6 million.
Based on his performances these past few seasons (last year's in particular), Brees wants a contract that reflects his elite status in the NFL.
He has every reason to demand the pay raise, but given the ineptitude of the Saints' front office, I wouldn't be surprised if the negotiations wound up going to the 11th hour.
And because of this fact, Brees should consider an alternative solution to this problem.
By accepting the 20 percent increase instead of the 44 percent for the first year, he can structure his long-term contract so that the difference will be applied to subsequent seasons.
Any sort of compromise would be positive for him; it would instantly boost his image (not that he needs it) with fans and serves as tool during these and any future negotiations.
It's not ideal, but it's a start; it would be a positive beacon in a sea of negativity that has swept through the franchise since the Bountygate scandal broke earlier this offseason.
An imminent return would be helpful for the team as well.
Now, they need a leader they can rally around.
Joe Vitt, Pete Carmichael and Steve Spagnuolo are calling the shots, but having Brees back early gives the team a needed shot in the arm.
There's no doubt that Brees will play next year; if he wants to avoid playing under the franchise tag, he needs to consider a compromise now before these negotiations get dragged out any further.