Multiple media reports say that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees won an arbitration ruling Tuesday that could strengthen his hand in negotiations with the organization on a new long-term contract.
The ruling doesn’t directly affect what Brees will make this season, but it does enable him to make nearly $4 million more if he were to play under the franchise tag this season, then get tagged again and play under that one next season.
It’s more likely that Brees and the Saints will reach agreement on a long-term contract before that happens. The two sides have until July 16 to sign a long-term deal or Brees will play under the one-year $16,371,000 tender that comes with the franchise player designation.
Arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled Tuesday on a franchise-tag grievance that was filed by the NFLPA last week in Philadelphia. The arbitration dealt with ambiguity in the collective bargaining agreement that players and owners agreed to last year.
The ambiguity was over whether another franchise designation next year would count as the second or third on Brees, who was tagged by San Diego in 2005.
A third tag entitles a player to 144 percent of his previous season’s salary, whereas a second tag is worth 120 percent. Burbank’s ruling means Brees’ 2013 tender would be worth $23,574,240.
If Brees were to play 2012 and 2013 under the tenders, his two-year salary would be $39,945,240. That clarification could narrow the focus of negotiations on terms of a long-term contract.