Updated at 7:25 p.m. EST on Friday, July 13
The Saints and Drew Brees agreed on a five-year, $100 million deal, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported on Friday.
The team later confirmed the signing. "Deal is Done! Love you, Who Dat Nation. See you soon!" Brees tweeted.
The contract includes $40 million in the first year of the deal with a record $60 million guaranteed in the first three years, Mortensen reported. The average of $20 million a year makes Brees the highest-paid player in NFL history on that basis. According to Pro Football Talk, Brees will have a base salary of $3 million in 2012 with a $37 million signing bonus.
Saints owner Tom Benson released the following statement on the Brees signing:
"Congratulations are in order for our organization, our city, Drew and Brittany and certainly for Mickey Loomis and his staff for all of the hard work put in to make this possible. Now we must turn our focus to getting reading for the start of training camp and to keeping with our goal of being the first team in NFL history to host and play in a Super Bowl."
Saints executive vice president / general manager Mickey Loomis, in a statement, said Brees "deserves to be the highest paid player in the league," considering his stellar career with the club.
"We are excited to have this deal done and behind us and look forward to the next five years with Drew as our QB," Loomis said.
"I've said this all along. I know what our organization's about, I know what Drew's about. And I know much winning means to our organization and Drew," said interim head coach Joe Vitt, according to The New Orleans Times-Picayune. "I was never concerned. I just think these things go down to the last minute. Mickey's gotta juggle contracts and the salary cap. Drew has to worry about getting the best deal he can because this could be the last big deal of his career."
Brees threw for an NFL-record 5,476 yards last season, including 46 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He had a career-high QB rating of 110.6.
The Saints applied the exclusive-rights franchise tag to Brees, which would have been worth $16.371 million. By winning a grievance ruling, if Brees played under the tag and got it again in 2013, it would have been his third tag and therefore worth more than $23 million.
The Saints had until Monday, July 16 to reach a long-term deal with Brees, who reportedly was prepared to not report to camp without a new contract.