As the long, hot summer drags on, we here at the Triangle figured we’d provide a steady stream of NFL goodness as a reminder of the light at the end of the baseball-lined tunnel.
Now that we're a mere 53 days away from the start of the 2012
Patriots 19-0 victory party NFL season, I have some good news for you ... Drew Brees signed a five-year, $100 million extension with the Saints!!!!!! Why did that deserve six exclamation points? Well ...
1. One of the dumbest ongoing sports stories is finally over. I hate any sports story that doesn't lend itself to an argument or at least two fairly interesting opinions. Why wouldn't the Saints take care of Brees? What took them so long? What were they doing? They couldn't say, "Well, they never won a Super Bowl with him," because they did. They couldn't say, "Well, he doesn't really mean that much to our franchise or our city," because he does. They couldn't say, "He stopped throwing up monster fantasy seasons," because he never stopped. They couldn't say, "Well, the Mannings and Brady didn't get taken care of, either," because they did. They couldn't say, "We don't really need the good publicity or the good will with our fans," because post-Bountygate, they clearly did. They couldn't say, "If only his ESPY speeches could be a little longer," because they always are. So what was happening here? Shit, the Bensons BOUGHT AN NBA TEAM during the time they could have been taking care of Brees. I remain confused.
2. Brees was headed for the first defensible contract holdout in the recent history of team sports. When does that ever happen? Did you really want to sit around with your friends saying, "Yeah, I don't blame Brees at all, playing for $16 million this season would have been totally insulting."
3. Did you really want to read fantasy football previews that had an asterisk next to Brees? Did you really want to do Chase Daniel research? Did you really want some asshole in your league to take a fourth-round flier on Brees, then luck out five days later when Brees signed? Or conversely, did you really want to pick Brees, then have him torture you for the first weeks of the season?
4. The bad news: They announced the contract on Friday the 13th. That's a terrible idea. I wouldn't even buy one of those 27-inch LCD TVs from those weird companies that you've never heard of at Best Buy on Friday the 13th.
5. The good news: Brees's contract guarantees him $60 million ... a million less than the Nets guaranteed Brook Lopez this week. I think this cancels out the Friday the 13th thing — when you're paying your franchise QB a million less than the "good" Lopez, you have to feel good about that.
6. What's worse than reading about someone's contract holdout every day? Even the hideous Dwight Howard trade quagmire is more fun — at least there, you can enjoy derisive Internet nicknames like "Dwight Coward" or derisive headlines like "Dwightmare"; you can make up fake trades for hours on end; you can watch Daryl Morey keep adding assets and doing everything but open a www.dwightorbust.com website; you can make jokes like "any time you can give up every asset you have AND take on multiple bad contracts for a wishy-washy guy coming off back surgery who doesn't want to play for you and can easily leave in 11 months, you have to do it"; and you get to hear Chris Broussard and Stephen A. Smith drag out the word "Daaaaaah-wight" for five or six seconds at a time. Contract holdouts aren't nearly as much fun.
Actually, there's never been a fun contract holdout — not ever, not once — that I can remember. Just two seconds ago, I asked everyone at the Grantland office, "Has there ever been a fun contract holdout in sports?," and everyone looked at me the same way they would have had I just dropped my pants and taken a deuce on Dave Jacoby's desk. A fun contract holdout? What??? Are you popping pills again? So thanks to the goofy but lovable Benson family, thanks to Brees and his agent, and thanks to the Saints fans for whatever real and telepathic pressure they applied to get their franchise guy paid. We can wipe one totally annoying football story off the books. Fifty-three days to go.