Classiest exit: Saints offensive tackle Zach Strief retires from NFL

Kenny Tucker
March 13, 2018

Brees' unequivocal position on remaining in New Orleans also could be influenced by a desire to ensure that, if he leaves, Saints fans won't blame him for it.

"I can't say enough about what Zach Strief has meant to this team and to me personally over the last 12 years", quarterback Drew Brees said in a statement.

Monday's deadline isn't that big of a deal, really. Brees is free to communicate with other teams when the legal tampering period begins on Monday, just the same as any free agent.

Until Brees signs on the dotted line, he's fair game for other teams. Brees' contract will void Wednesday afternoon, and he'll count for $18 million in dead space for the upcoming season. The Saints obviously would prefer to work out a new contract before then, allowing them to spread out Brees' cap costs into future years. If winning a second Super Bowl and cashing in one last time before retirement are at the top of Brees' list of priorities, Minnesota should be his destination.

Still, it's not all surprising that this deal is coming down to the wire.

It would ultimate still be a major upset if Brees leaves the Saints, but there's always a chance negotiations could sour.

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If the Vikings pursue Brees too much and he ends up signing with New Orleans again, they may miss out on Kirk Cousins.

When it finally does get done, chances are Brees' contract will look an terrible lot like that last extension he signed just four days before the 2016 season opener.

Regardless, eight weeks and one day ago, no one would have expected it to take this long for a new deal to be done.

Strief thanked the organization for taking a chance on him, adding that he was humbled to play alongside quarterback Drew Brees.

That willingness to play one year at a time has been Brees' version of a hometown discount.

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