According to almost every major media outlet, Saints quarterback Drew Brees is still unhappy with his contract situation.
In fact, Brees has given the Saints front office an ultimatum: either the team satisfies his contract demands by Monday, or the star quarterback will not report to training camp and not sign his franchise tender.
Not so Saintly, eh? It would seem that despite all of his off-the-field accolades, Breesus Christ wants to get paid like the rest of us. Brees is apparently seeking a contract in the range of $20.5M per year, but the real hang-up between both sides has to do with guaranteed money.
Regardless of the cause, the prospect of a Saints team without Drew Brees in camp is suddenly a very real possibility. This most recent news only adds to what has been an already very unpleasant offseason for Saints fans.
But whether Brees gets his new contract or not, how does this affect the Atlanta Falcons?
As I've already mentioned, the Saints and Brees' party are still very far apart in terms of guaranteed money. How far? Apparently somewhere in the $10M range. They've got about five days to wrap things up before the deadline.
Best-case scenario for the Falcons? The two sides can't figure things out, Brees misses all of training camp and perhaps even misses part of the 2012 regular season. The latter is unlikely; Brees has made it clear he still wants to play, and if that means signing the franchise tag he hates so much he may still do it.
But let's assume that the rift between Brees and the front office is even wider than we'd imagined. It's easy to see why the Saints' best player is angry, considering the bounty scandal and numerous suspensions that have preceded training camp. There's less incentive to stay in such a negative atmosphere, and Brees would command a huge sum on the open market.
No Drew Brees, or even a rusty one, makes the Saints a non-playoff team. Who would play quarterback? Chase Daniel? Donovan McNabb? The division would be wide open for the Falcons to reclaim, and Atlanta's toughest opponent becomes an easy win.
But how about worst-case scenario? That would probably be a multi-year contract extension for Brees, one that keeps him in a Saints uniform for several more years.
Even if we assume he doesn't, what happens if Brees comes into the season on a one-year deal? He'll have a chip on his shoulder, something to prove, and a fat paycheck waiting for him next March if he performs as most believe he will.
My colleague Godfrey's worst fear- "New Orleans versus the world" -could become a frightening reality.
Either way you look at it, these next few days will shape the Falcons' season just as much as it will in New Orleans.