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Brady leaving New England, Brees staying put in New Orleans

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees greet each other after an NFL preseason football game in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees greet each other after an NFL preseason football game in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)(WTOK)
Published: Mar. 17, 2020 at 3:02 PM CDT
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The unimaginable has happened to Patriots fans: Tom Brady is moving on.

The predictable has occurred for Saints fans: Drew Brees is staying put.

No matter what else happens in NFL free agency on Tuesday, decisions by those two iconic quarterbacks deserve headlines. And those decisions were as divergent as the regions they have played in.

Brady will be 43 when the next NFL season begins. He also brings with him six Super Bowl rings, four Super Bowl MVP trophies and three regular-season MVP awards. Simply put, he’s the most successful quarterback in pro football history.

And he’s available.

“I don’t know what my football future holds, but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and my career,” he wrote. “Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible TEAM experiences.”

Those experiences — nine Super Bowl trips, six wins — ended with a home loss to Tennessee in the wild-card round in January.

As a memento for Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who referred to Brady as being like a son, the team will take a $13.5 million salary cap hit because of the signing bonus Brady got for his one-year deal for the 2019 season.

No such issues in the Big Easy. Brees made things, well, easy for the Saints, making it clear he wasn’t leaving New Orleans or Sean Payton’s offense despite having his contract run out.

Brees, 41, agreed to a two-year, $50 million contract, a person familiar with the situation said. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Tuesday because the deal has not been announced.

The 19-year veteran with one NFL title in New Orleans basically gave a hometown discount to the Saints. His deal will not put him in the top 10 quarterbacks for annual salary. But the career leader in completions with 6,867, yards passing with 77,416, and touchdowns with 547 believes New Orleans offers the best place for him to win another championship.

Brees missed five games with a throwing hand injury that required surgery last season, but still helped New Orleans to a third straight playoff appearance.

Other quarterbacks’ fates were being decided Tuesday, the second day on which players’ representatives could negotiate with teams. No deals can become official until the league business year begins Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

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