The clock continues to tick for Drew Brees and the Saints. Brees will only be able to play under the franchise tag in 2012 if he does not sign a multiyear contract by 4 p.m. ET on July 16, but both sides still appear confident they will reach a long-term agreement before the deadline.
The window of time to finalize a deal before a ruling is issued in Brees’ grievance against the NFL — which will determine whether the franchise tag placed on him this offseason counts as his first or second (he was tagged by a different team, the Chargers, in 2005) — soon could be closed.
Brees and the Saints are waiting to hear from arbitrator Stephen Burbank, who reportedly said he would rule within a week after listening to arguments from the league and NFLPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler during the June 27 grievance hearing.
While Burbank’s ruling could affect negotiations by granting a bit of leverage to the Saints or Brees, our sources still expect Brees to sign a long-term deal that averages close to $20 million per year.
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