Saints don't need to find Drew Brees' replacement just yet

A position-by-position look at where the New Orleans Saints stand heading into the 2016 offseason -- counting down from No. 13 to No. 1 in order of need for upgrades or replacements. At No. 12 is quarterback.

Current depth chart:

Drew Brees. Age 37, signed through 2016. 2016 salary and bonuses: $20 million. 2016 salary-cap number: $30 million.

Luke McCown. Age 34, unrestricted free agent.

Garrett Grayson. Age 24, signed through 2018. 2016 salary and bonuses: $589,573. 2016 salary-cap number: $729,585.

Matt Flynn. Age 30, unrestricted free agent.


Sure, an argument could me made for ranking this higher -- considering it might be the most important position in all of sports. Eventually, the Saints will need to replace Brees, which will be a monumental task. But that’s not something they have to force this year.

Brees just had another terrific season, leading the NFL with 4,870 passing yards. Maybe he won’t play until he is 45 years old, as he has suggested in the past. But he sure looks good to go for at least two or three more years, if not longer. So I expect the Saints to extend his contract at some point this offseason.

That won’t necessarily be an easy process, though. As I have written about a few times this offseason, it will be hard to determine Brees’ proper market value at age 38 and beyond, especially since the closest comp -- Tom Brady -- took a major discount in his most recent extension with the New England Patriots.

As for Brees’ backups, it’s possible the Saints could consider drafting another QB in the middle rounds, just to increase their chances of hitting on the next hidden gem. But they don’t need to force that, either, since they already have Grayson as a developmental prospect after drafting him in the third round last year.

I also expect the Saints to re-sign at least one of their veterans. McCown is the most likely, as long as he is on pace to fully recover from November back surgery. The injury was a shame since McCown had his finest moment in three years as the Saints’ backup when he started in place of an injured Brees in Week 3 at Carolina and nearly knocked off the Panthers in a 27-22 loss.

Previous rankings:

No. 13: Running backs