The question may no longer be 'If' Drew Brees leaves New Orleans but 'when' he leaves thanks to a grievance he just won:
Drew Brees of New Orleans Saints wins franchise tag ruling - ESPN
Burbank's ruling means if Brees does not sign a long-term contract this summer and plays out the 2012 season under his current franchise number, the 2013 season is the last time he can be tagged. In addition, a tag in 2013 would earn him a pay raise of 144 percent.
So the issue is a player can be tagged only three times in their career and after this season Brees would have two, the first being the Chargers before going to the Saints. The ruling was to determine if the 3 times rule was applied per team. The judge ruled the team didn't matter, its three total no matter if it's three teams.
More after the jump...
Though a 144% raise from $16M might still be doable for the team you would have to think Brees would be extremely unhappy at that point playing under yet another one year deal.
Brees' current tag is worth $16.371 million, which won't change with the ruling. However, taking into account the 144 percent raise, a would-be tag in 2013 would put Brees' cap number at $23,574,240, according to ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton. If the Saints chose to use their exclusive-rights tag on Brees in 2013, that would put his two-year earnings at $39,945,240, or a little less than $20 million per year.
Brees would be a lame duck QB playing to not get hurt if he played at all. Needless to say Tom Benson needs to stop dicking around if he intends to keep Brees. Obviously I hope he pisses him off to no end and Brees goes to KC or back to SD. It would serve Benson right.