NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees has agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract with the New Orleans Saints, with $60 million guaranteed, said a person familiar with the deal.
Brees and the team reached agreement Friday, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract has not been publically announced. Brees had been tagged as the Saints' exclusive franchise player and could not negotiate with other teams.
Had a deal not been reached, the tender for a quarterback was worth $16.3 million. Brees would have had to play for that amount or hold out without a contract.
Brees skipped the Saints' offseason practices while holding out for a new long-term contract that now makes him the highest-paid player in NFL history.
New Orleans had designated Brees, 33, its franchise player in March after the club was unable to reach a new long-term extension with the record-setting quarterback before his previous six-year, $60 million contract expired.
Brees however, was steadfast in not wanting to play for a one-year deal.
During the past six seasons, Brees has not only led the Saints to their only Super Bowl title, but has completed more passes (2,488) for more yards (28,394) and more touchdowns (201) than any other quarterback in the NFL. His 67.8 percent completion rate spanning the past six seasons also tops the league.
In 2011, Brees set NFL single-season records with 468 completions, 5,476 yards passing and a completion percentage of 71.2. His prolific passing numbers helped the Saints set a new NFL high for total offensive yards in a season with 7,474.
He led the Saints to a 13-3 regular season record and second NFC South Division title in three seasons. New Orleans defeated Detroit in the first round of the playoffs before falling in the final seconds of their second-round game at San Francisco.
This offseason marked the first time Brees had the opportunity to negotiate a major, long-term deal with the leverage provided by a string of injury-free seasons highlighted by a slew of individual and team statistical records, in addition to a championship.
He commanded only second-round money when he was drafted by San Diego, and the Chargers placed the one-year franchise tag on him when that deal ran out in 2005. The right-handed Brees then had an injury the following season that required major surgery to his throwing shoulder, and which left him with few major offers during the 2006 offseason.
He wound up signing the six-year deal in New Orleans that left him playing for well below what the top quarterbacks in the league earned during the past few seasons.
Brees' new deal tops the previous benchmark contract for elite QBs set by with the five-year, $96 million deal Denver gave earlier this offseason to Peyton Manning, who is three years older than Brees and sat out last season while recovering from neck surgery.