HE’S BACK: Saints QB Drew Brees Returns for a 20th Season and Shot at Super Bowl

Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Saints, YouTube

He’s back, and possibly for one last “hurrah” in what has been one of the most brilliant careers ever put together by a player in the entire history in the sport of Pro Football. Just a short while ago, 41-year old New Orleans Saints starting QB and future NFL Hall of Famer Drew Brees announced on his personal Instagram account that he will indeed return for what will be his 20th NFL season in 2020.

Brees, who last season set the League records for all-time passing yards and TD passes in an individual career. announced to fans via Social Media that he intends not only to play next season, but is motivated to make another run at getting to the Super Bowl — a goal that both he and the Black and the Gold have come so agonizingly close to achieving for the past 3 post-seasons; but only to be eventually eliminated in either controversial or heart-breaking fashion each time.

“My feelings about the 2020 season! I look forward to the grind and the journey, for the reward at the end will be worth it!!! Love you #WhoDatNation. Let’s make another run at it!”, he said to his followers. an obvious reference at getting to Super Bowl LV (55) in Tampa Bay next year (February 7th, 2021).

Brees originally was set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins next month on March 18th; if he hadn’t agreed to a new contract with the Saints by that time. However, the team’s greatest player in the franchise’s entire 53-year history, chose not to reveal any possible new details in Tuesday’s post regarding a potential future contract with the team.

That said, the former Super Bowl LIV MVP was widely expected by most observers and analysts covering the League, to return for at least one more season, which will now be the 15th season for him as the franchise’s #1 quarterback after spending his first 5 seasons in the League with the then-San Diego (and now Los Angeles) Chargers.

Credit: Christopher Taylor/Nick Boulet, JRNOLA

Presumably, this upcoming season might possibly be his final one; which likely of course will hinge largely upon just how well the team fares win-loss-wise in the year ahead.

Initially, Brees had said after the Saints’ 2019 Season ended last month following an NFC Wild-Card playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings; that he wanted to consider all of his various options for his personal future (and that of his family) after eventually retiring from the NFL.

Now, the still-efficient veteran and 20th year signal-caller will play in NOLA for another year, and some believe that his decision to return for one more season might have been highly-motivated by the return of fellow NFL QB “living legend” Tom Brady; who at age 42 is also expected to return for at least one more season with the New England Patriots.

Brees last season broke former Indianapolis Colts and retired Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning‘s all-time record for career passing yards (77,416) and touchdown passes (547). Brady is not that far behind Brees currently at 74,571 passing yards and 541 touchdown passes; and the two players appear jointly inspired to remain competitive against one another until they both are no longer able to continue playing the sport either physically or mentally.

Additionally (and perhaps more importantly): Brees’ decision now provides Saints management with a path to follow this off-season regarding the respective futures of back-up quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill. Bridgewater, 27, is set to become an unrestricted free agent and could earn a starting opportunity elsewhere; and possibly for potentially as much as $30 million per season, if the latest rumors are in fact true.

If Bridgewater leaves as it’s now expected, that will in turn clear the way for Taysom to potentially become the franchise’s future starting QB moving forward.

Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Saints, YouTube

Despite being age 29, Hill is regarded as the most likely heir to the team’s QB position; even though he is now a restricted free agent — but yet he still can be retained by the team if they make him an official ‘tendered’ offer of 1 year, per the guidelines of restricted free agency.

If another NFL team were to sign Hill to an offer sheet, New Orleans can choose to either match it or get back a draft pick (potentially even as high as a 1st Round pick) in this April’s 2020 NFL Draft.

Whatever does (or doesn’t) happen with Hill, will undoubtedly have a lasting impact upon the future of the Saints starting QB position, possibly for the remainder of the decade and perhaps even longer after Brees is gone.

Big Easy Magazine will continue to update this story in future articles, as warranted….

Barry Hirstius is a semi-retired journalist, who has worked as a sports editor and columnist. Barry is a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the Saints while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium. He is the proud Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryHirstius

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