The case for trading Drew Brees

Drew Brees' time as a top-level NFL quarterback is running out. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

This is not going to be a good offseason for the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have signed a number of big contracts in recent years, trying to return to the Super Bowl, and those moves have not worked out. Now it's time to pay the salary-cap piper.

Even after this week's moves to cut Pierre Thomas and restructure Jairus Byrd's contract, and taking into account the news reports that Marques Colston and Brodrick Bunkley have restructured or are in the process of restructuring their contracts, the Saints are still over the 2015 cap. They could save that money with other contract restructures (or cuts), but that would just do more to push dead money onto their cap in future years. The nature of the NFL is such that teams can always find a way to get under the cap, but each year, it will become more difficult to add new talent to the Saints roster. At some point, the whole thing will need to be blown up.

Why not just do it now?

We're used to the idea of "tanking" in other sports. The Philadelphia 76ers have amassed a roster filled with young but undeveloped talent, not to mention more second-round picks than there are stalls at Reading Terminal Market. The Houston Astros have spent the last couple of years trading nearly all of their veterans for young prospects. The Saints are in a unique position to try an experiment, and to see if such a strategy might work in the National Football League.

How could the Saints do this? By trading away Drew Brees.