Report: Little progress on Brees deal

This obviously isn’t one of the better days in the history of the New Orleans Saints. In addition to the suspensions of Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma, there’s another piece of discouraging news.

Citing a source close to the situation, Adam Schefter reports that quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints have made little progress on a long-term deal. The Saints placed the exclusive-rights franchise tag on Brees, but the quarterback has not signed his tender. Team owner Tom Benson previously said the sides were “close’’ to a deal and general manager Mickey Loomis recently said getting Brees signed is his most important order of business.

But it doesn’t appear as if any new deal is imminent. The only thing close to a bright side in all this is that Vilma’s yearlong suspension frees up almost $5 million in salary-cap space and that could be used to make room for a new deal for Brees.

We all have seen how negotiations can drag on and this one could continue for a while. Although the Saints have started their offseason program without Brees, there is not a huge sense of urgency for him to be with the team right now. I see several time frames where the sense of urgency could become greater and that could help spark a deal.

The Saints don’t begin their on-field organized team activities until later in May and that’s one possibility where either or both sides could feel more of a sense of urgency. The Saints begin their veteran minicamp June 5 and that could be another key time.

The Saints are scheduled to open training camp July 26 and, if a deal isn’t done by then, both sides could be in crisis mode.