National Football League
Brees surprises with selfish turn
National Football League

Brees surprises with selfish turn

Published Mar. 7, 2012 12:00 a.m. ET

It's a sad day for Indianapolis Colts fans, but a no-brainer for the franchise.

So where will Peyton play next? We have an idea.

Plus, Drew Brees is selfish and Plaxico Burress gets it.

Did I just write that?


It’s time for a sizzling Schein 9:

1. Selfish Brees

The Saints have big issues on their plate. How’s that for the understatement of the century?

But the selfishness of quarterback Drew Brees got swept under the rug this week. That’s a sentence I never thought I would write.

The New Orleans Saints are not cheap, as they have been wrongly portrayed in the media. They offered Brees a deal that would make him the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. Although he isn’t the best quarterback in the NFL, Brees earned that salary, in the eyes of the New Orleans brass, with his play and leadership in New Orleans.

But being No. 1 wasn’t good enough for Brees. He insisted on more.

The Saints offered Brees more than the $18.5 million per season Tom Brady and Peyton Manning make (made in Manning’s case now). They offered him a $30 million signing bonus. New Orleans offered Brees the second-highest amount of guaranteed money in NFL history in the first three years of his deal. Brees didn’t ask for $20 million per season as a response to the New Orleans offer. He countered by demanding $23 million per season. The Saints and Brees are far apart.

The Saints’ offer remains on the table. New Orleans would love for Brees to sign it. Thus, New Orleans was left with no choice but to give Brees the franchise tag. Sadly, that means they couldn’t tag star guard Carl Nicks. As a result, he likely will get a bigger offer via free agency and leave. New Orleans still has to deal with receiver Marques Colston, receiver Robert Meachem and cornerback Tracy Porter. There is a realistic chance they could all go as free agents.

Brees represented a pied piper for the Saints after Hurricane Katrina. He had a chance to do that after “Bounty Gate.” New Orleans wanted to reward him for the past and honor him for the future. But Brees wanted more money. And it will hurt the Saints’ chances of winning.

2. Manning to Arizona in the Cards?

The marriage with Peyton Manning and the Colts had to end. Indy has the No. 1 overall pick and will draft the next Peyton Manning in Andrew Luck. Indy has a new coach, a new general manager, and it is a new day. Manning didn’t play a down last year. He’s coming off of four reported neck surgeries. The next hit could be his last.

So which NFL team could truly afford the risk/reward with Manning’s health? Who needs star power and a culture shock? What team could also sign Reggie Wayne to play with Manning? What team has a backup who has won games for the club whose ego wouldn’t be bruised by Manning’s presence? Good weather? Dome stadium? Who has a playoff-caliber defense? A head coach and play caller whom Manning liked when they were together in the Pro Bowl?

Try this on for size.

Meet Peyton Manning, starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.

It just makes too much sense.

Sources tell us the Arizona Cardinals want to sign Manning. They would eradicate Kevin Kolb from the roster. John Skelton, a quarterback whom Ken Whisenhunt likes a lot and won with in the second half last year, would be the backup and insurance in case Manning got hurt. Manning, according to different sources, has put out feelers about the Cardinals. He is very intrigued by playing with Larry Fitzgerald and bringing Wayne along as his wingman.

Make no mistake; part of the Cardinals' plan would be to sign Wayne if they brought Manning on board. It has been discussed at length internally. Manning is said to respect and like Whisenhunt and has reached out via intermediaries to learn more about him. Sources say Manning also likes Arizona’s young, talented defense.

There is legit mutual interest in a Manning-Cardinals marriage. Arizona will be in play.

3. Peyton and the Jets? Don’t see it

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum looks under every rock. And he should. The Jets will explore Manning, but the fit really isn’t there.

The football people with the Jets don’t want to pursue Manning, still believing in Mark Sanchez. While Sanchez regressed last year and the team imploded, he did take the Jets to two AFC title games in his first two years. They parted ways with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and brought in Tony Sparano to aid Sanchez. The Jets, as colleague Alex Marvez wrote weeks ago, want a quarterback like Chad Henne (who played for Sparano in Miami) to push Sanchez. I don’t think the Jets should kick Sanchez to the curb.

The risk/reward factor doesn’t favor the Jets.

And do you remember how the Jets finished the season? Why exactly would Peyton Manning pick the Jets?

4. Luck-y for you

I know emotions are running high in Indy. A living legend is done in Indianapolis. But it is the right time.

Colts owner Jim Irsay deserves a lot of credit. A lot of executives and owners fail by paying for the past while ignoring the present and future. Jettisoning Peyton Manning was the only play for the Colts. Andrew Luck has the skill and work ethic to be entrenched as the quarterback in Indy for a long time.

5. Plax back with Giants?

The Giants stunned a lot of people when they offered Plaxico Burress a contract last offseason. He turned it down, getting a bigger guarantee from the Jets. The Giants likely will lose Mario Manningham via free agency to a team that will pay him more money and give him a bigger role, with Tampa Bay (where Giants assistant Mike Sullivan is now the offensive coordinator) a legit landing spot. Burress knows the Giants' offense and showed the NFL world last year that he had changed as a person after getting out of prison. He has a great rapport with Eli Manning.

I know I’m in the minority, but I think Burress makes a ton of sense replacing Manningham. Heck, the Giants, obviously, agreed with me last August.

Burress spent 20 minutes with Rich Gannon and me on the SiriusXM Blitz on Tuesday morning and said of a reunion with the Giants: “It’s always a great possibility. Playing in (offensive coordinator) Kevin Gilbride's system, it’s definitely one of the best. You just see the production those guys are having at the wide receiver position. Victor Cruz, obviously, with the year he had, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. You just look at some of the plays those guys are making out there on the edge. And Eli (Manning) has really just become a man (at) his position, leading those guys the last few games of the season, the last five or six winning, and, obviously, winning the Super Bowl. Being in that offense, it's definitely a great offense. We'll see what happens free-agency time."

6. Plax back with Steelers?

Frankly, Plax’s enthusiasm about possibly going back to the Steelers oozed through the phone. We asked him it truly interested him.

“Definitely," he said. "I talk to Ben (Roethlisberger) every now and again, maybe once a month or whatever that may be. Ben Roethlisberger’s always been my favorite quarterback. People can say what they want to about him, but the guy just goes out and wins. He’s been that way since he came to Pittsburgh in 2004 (and) we went 15-1. You know, it may not be pretty at all times, but the guy wins.

"I say that he’s going to be as close to John Elway as anybody’s going to get. He’s a competitive player. I love that edge that he plays with. He’s tough as they come, and he’s always been my favorite quarterback. So, with that being said, of course I’m open to going back to Pittsburgh.”

I think it goes noted that he said Big Ben, not Eli, is his favorite quarterback.

7. Plax craves Eagles?

Here’s what Burress had to say when we asked him about joining the Eagles:

“Philadelphia is one of the teams that is at the top of my list. I just see myself fitting into a puzzle. I just look at the guys they already have over there as far as DeSean (Jackson), LeSean (McCoy) and all those guys. I think they’re great talent. You just look at the situation and you say, 'Hey, I can go into this place and draw some double coverage (and) make the guys over there around me better.'

"I look at it as a situation where I can just go out and make plays. Also, because of the guys that are around DeSean, Mike (Vick) at quarterback, I would get some single coverage. So it’s one of those things where you just institute yourself into a piece to a puzzle and say, ‘Hey, how can I help the guys around me? How can I continue to get better? Where can I go and have some fun and just enjoy playing football?’ Philly is definitely one of those destinations.”

I don’t see Philly as a legit possibility. The Eagles have to deal with Jackson’s situation. And as general manager Howie Roseman told us at the NFL Combine, the club wants to maintain continuity, not take a “Dream Team” approach like last year.

8. One down, two to go in Houston?

Talking to Arian Foster on the SiriusXM Blitz on Tuesday, the undrafted star running back was greatly appreciative of Houston giving him a long-term commitment, reflecting on his hard work and journey. Foster senses the Texans are on the verge of something special. And Foster took the time to stress how important it is to re-sign free-agent center Chris Myers, to keep the continuity on the offensive line.

If you read the tea leaves, Texans coach Gary Kubiak feels very confident in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ coaching abilities and likes the makeup of his defense. I think Houston will let pass rusher Mario Williams leave to the highest bidder. New England could be a legit player.

9. Bounty-gate

There is no place in the NFL for bounties. I don’t think Gregg Williams coaches this year in the NFL.


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