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Brees, Saints playing franchise tender chicken

Indianapolis Colts v New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 23: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints takes the field against the Indianapolis Colts prior to a game being held at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 23, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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As the Saints launch their Organized Team Activities without the man who organized the team’s lockout activities a year ago, league insiders and observers continue to scratch their heads regarding the failure of the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees to work out the details of a long-term deal.

As best we can tell, the current impasse arises from one fundamental disagreement: the Saints believe that Brees eventually will sign the one-year, $16.371 million exclusive franchise tender, and Brees currently has no plan to do so.

For now, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the two sides are talking, but that they are making no real progress.

It could be that the Saints are underestimate Brees’ resolve. It’s easy to assume that, once the July 16 deadline for signing franchise players to long-term deals comes and goes, Brees will take the money and report for camp.

Though Brees’ specific demands remain unclear, the break-even point for the Saints when it comes to simply using the franchise tag in 2012 ($16.371 million), 2013 ($19.645 million), and 2014 ($28.289 million) is a long-term deal with a three-year average of $21.435 million.

And if Brees wants more than guaranteed money than the combined franchise tenders for 2012 and 2013 (i.e., $36.016 million), it’s all the more reason for the team to take it year to year.

If, of course, Brees eventually will sign the one-year tender. The Saints likely are banking on the fact that he will, at some point after July 16 and before Week One. Brees currently doesn’t plan to do it. But plans can change, especially when alternatives are limited.