NEW ORLEANS — Two days after Drew Brees said it was “extremely frustrating” that there hasn’t been a much discussion with club officials about a long-term contract, New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said he respects his star quarterback’s feelings.
Loomis also said Friday he didn’t take any of Brees’ comments about the slow pace of negotiations, made Wednesday night during an interview with Saints flagship radio station WWL, personally.
“I feel for him … I feel with him,” Loomis said of Brees, who was tagged as the team’s franchise player March 3. “He wants to be here right now. I want him to be here right now, and we want to get that accomplished.”
Loomis, who attended a Saints Hall of Fame news conference to announce that former running back Deuce McAllister and owner Tom Benson will be inducted this fall, cited the complexity of what could be the largest contract in NFL history as being one of the stumbling blocks to getting a deal done.
“It’s important to Drew, but it’s important to our team,” Loomis said. “The magnitude of this contract is going to impact our team for a long period of time, so we’ve got to get it right.
“It’s got to be right for Drew. But it’s got to be right for our team as well.”
After saying April 13 that the two sides were close to agreeing on a new deal, Benson wouldn’t go that far Friday.
But he said Brees, a five-time Pro Bowl selection who’s shattered numerous club and NFL passing records in six seasons with the Saints, will be back.
“There’s money involved, you know, and two people have some difference of opinion,” Benson said. “But it’s going to be worked out. I assure you that Drew Brees will be playing here, OK?”
In his interview with WWL, Brees, who completed a six-year, $60 million contract in 2011, said he was frustrated and disappointed by a lack of communication on the team’s part.
“There’s always a back and forth when it comes to these negotiations,” he said. “But I know we’ve reached out on quite a few occasions. And, at times, I know I’ve been frustrated with the lack of response.
“I would just say there should be a sense of urgency, and yet, it seems like there’s not.”
Loomis acknowledged contract talks can sometimes strain a relationship between a player and a team, but said he and Brees still have a great relationship.
When asked about the holdup on a new deal, however, Loomis said he wouldn’t get into why it hasn’t been completed yet with the first of 10 organized team activities scheduled for Monday.
“It’s not productive to do that,” Loomis said. “I’m not going to get into details about what has happened or what’s going to happen. I’m positive about Drew Brees and optimistic about getting him signed.
“Drew is passionate about being with the Saints, and I respect him a lot for that. I know he wants to be here and he’s frustrated he’s not with the team. If he didn’t care, he wouldn’t say a word, right?”
Brees said earlier this spring that he won’t play for the franchise tender of $16.371 million this year because his career nearly ended when his right shoulder was mangled while playing on a one-year tender with the San Diego Chargers in 2005.
He’s reportedly seeking a deal that will play him $21 million a season, which would surpass Peyton Manning as the highest-paid player in NFL history. Manning signed a deal averaging $19.2 million per season with the Denver Broncos this winter.
“These contracts are personal issues for players; I recognize that,” Loomis said. “I don’t have any hard feelings or anything about it.
“Drew wants to get signed and I respect that.”
When asked how he would characterize the negotiations, Loomis said, “We’re not done yet.”
“That’s how I would characterize it,” he said. “Negotiations are hard sometimes. It’s a common part of our business.”