Tuesday 20 March 2018 / 03:12 AM

Beginning of the end for Drew Brees?

I don’t mean for the title of this article to sound click-baity. There’s no reason to believe Drew Brees won’t continue to produce at a high level for several more seasons.

But – the man who has never missed a game due to injury since coming to New Orleans may very well sit out for the first time this coming Sunday at Carolina.

Reports look good on his rotator cuff with all signs pointing to the absence of a tear, but for a quarterback closer to 40 than 30, this injury is a legitimate concern. Even if he “can” play, how will the injury affect arm strength, accuracy and throwing motion from today forward?

Really, only time will tell.

Already the magic of the Superdome is a thing of the past and the Saints look more like the “Aints” of the 80s than the perennial playoff contender that brought home a Super Bowl title to boost their city’s morale following Hurricane Katrina.

Of course, the club’s demise isn’t at all Brees’ fault as the ebb and flow of talent across the league is meant to shift – the entire salary cap and free agent system is built to ensure teams don’t stay at the top (or bottom) too long. However, I can’t help but wonder if the days of #9 being a true Top 5 QB will soon be a thing of the past.

There’s even talk leaking out of the organization that New Orleans will not be extending Brees to a long-term deal when his current contract expires next season.

For the first time since his early days in the league, Drew Brees’ performance over the course of the season will actually play a part in how management perceives his future role with the team.

This, in and of itself, is news worth talking about.

Signs of a Legitimate Decline

OK, so it’s tough to claim the end of days for a guy who came 8 yards shy of tossing 5,000 yards for the fourth straight year and tied Ben Roethlisberger for the passing title, but 2014 was in many ways the worst year for the quarterback in quite a while.

Compared to the previous season he threw 6 fewer touchdowns with 5 more interceptions and notched 2 fewer rushing scores with more fumbles. His average yards per reception dropped as did his overall rating by almost 8 full points.

Perhaps more importantly, his team finished with a losing record in one of the worst divisions in the league.

And just two games into the 2015 campaign his numbers look downright pedestrian apart from averaging 305 yards per game.

With just 2 touchdowns twenty-two starting quarterbacks (including two rookies) have more and the 1:1 TD to INT ratio puts him on par with Kirk Cousins and Jay Cutler.

So let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater here but let’s not be afraid to talk about the elephant in the room, either.

Peyton Manning is not the only ageing signal caller working with a wee bit less petrol in the tank.

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Michael Airhart

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