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Brees injury clouds his future in New Orleans

Drew Brees

AP

With Saints quarterback Drew Brees missing his first game in his 10th season with the team, the question now becomes whether there will be an 11th.

Brees signed in 2012 a five-year contract that maxes out in 2016 with a $27.4 million cap number. He’ll be 37 next year, and the Saints could free up $20 million in cash and cap space by moving on.

Before the Saints would move on, they’d need to have a viable alternative. Luke McCown gets a chance to prove on Sunday that it could be him. Eventually rookie Garrett Grayson could play, if Brees’ absence continues.

Or maybe the Saints will “earn” the ability to take a quarterback early in the 2016 draft.

It’s unclear how long Brees will be out. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media says that Brees already is a long shot to play in next Sunday night’s game against the Cowboys, and that the bruise in his rotator cuff actually is a small tear.

Regardless of when Brees plays again this year, there’s now a feeling similar to the sense in Indianapolis four years ago that Peyton Manning was on his way out. Much of the final decision will hinge on whether the Brees have someone else they can bring in -- and/or whether Brees would take a lot less to stick around.