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Reminder: Drew Brees was a free agent

Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger have emerged as the frontrunners for the NFL MVP after Week 11 saw Patrick Mahomes and Todd Gurley fail to strengthen their case.

Thanksgiving ends with the Saints hosting the Falcons on NBC, a game that will become the latest chapter in quarterback Drew Brees’ run for his first-ever league MVP award.

And it’s worth pointing out, with Brees playing better than ever, that anyone could have signed him in March.

Some (me) argued that the Vikings, who witnessed Brees’ abilities via his efforts to lead the Saints back from a 17-0 deficit in the playoffs, should have made Brees an offer he couldn’t refuse. If, after all, Kirk Cousins is worth $28 million per year, what is Brees worth?

Sure, Brees benefits from the presence of coach Sean Payton and teammates like running back Alvin Kamara, running back Mark Ingram, and receiver Michael Thomas. But Brees has proven that he’s a rare talent, and it’s safe to say that the Vikings (who have plenty of weapons, too) would be better than 5-4-1 right now with Brees. Other teams that have underachieved with less-than-franchise quarterbacks also would be doing better with Brees.

What if, for example, the Jaguars had pulled the plug on Blake Bortles and gone all in with Brees? What if the Broncos had opted to pay whatever they needed to pay to get Brees?

Any team that was looking for a quarterback should have been looking at Brees, who wasn’t inclined to leave New Orleans but who surely would have had a number to which he couldn’t have said no. It never came to that, possibly due to fears that Brees’ inevitable decline could have come this season.

If definitely hasn’t. And he looks like a guy who could keep playing as long as he wants to play. As the Saints play deep into January, plenty of other teams who are waiting for next year will be wishing Brees had been playing for them.