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Brees Calls It A Career

March 15, 2021
Brees retires

What was suspected when the New Orleans Saints were eliminated from the playoffs was confirmed on Sunday when Drew Brees announced his retirement from the NFL.

Brees exits his 20-year career as football’s all-time leader with 80,358 yards passing and second all-time with 571 touchdown passes. He’s also the only quarterback in NFL history with 5,000 yards passing in five different seasons. No other NFL quarterback has eclipsed that mark more than once.

Brees is also the all-time leader in 300-yard passing games with 123, a full 24 games ahead of Tom Brady, who is in second place.
The Legacy of Drew Brees
The moment he is eligible for enshrinement, Brees will be in the Hall of Fame. But where does he rank among the all-time greats?

His career began slowly in San Diego, and he was eventually replaced by Philip Rivers. A torn labrum then made him a risky free agent, and the Dolphins famously passed on signing him, leading him to New Orleans and the stardom that was to follow.

But even though he finishes his career as the most statistically impressive quarterback in league history, he never won the MVP award. He did win the Super Bowl MVP after the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV, but that was his only appearance in the Super Bowl, and he trails his contemporaries Brady, Ben Roethlisberger. Peyton Manning, and Russell Wilson.

However, there is no matching what he means to the city of New Orleans. Following Hurricane Katrina, there was real talk that the Saints might make San Antonio their new permanent home.

The city was struggling, and the team was the joke of the NFL, having won just one playoff game in its history.

With Brees, they won nine playoff games – including one against the Bears after the 2020 regular season – became a regular postseason contender, and the Superdome has become one of the toughest places to play in the NFL.

Brees now begins a broadcasting career with NBC Sports

The Saints Next Quarterback

Even with the Brees announcement, online sportsbooks still have the Saints at +1800 to win next year’s Super Bowl. The team is good, and Sean Payton is a great coach, but with Brady still in the division, the Saints can’t just plug anyone in at quarterback and expect to compete.

Much was made of Taysom Hill’s four-year, $140 million extension signed on Sunday, but all of the years are voidable, and it was done simply so the Saints could save money against the cap. It’s not a signal that Hill will be the guy going forward, although he was 3-1 as a starter last year.

Jameis Winston is also in the running. He came to New Orleans last season in a prove-it year, and by all accounts, the team and coaches were impressed by him. He’s also likely to be inexpensive.

The Saints are one of the teams on Russell Wilson’s wishlist, and online sportsbooks do list New Orleans at +1800 to land Wilson in a trade. But for that to work, he would need to rework his contract.