Drew Brees will participate in Saints' OTAs despite lingering contract talks

Drew Brees' contract talks haven’t been going anywhere this offseason. But they won’t keep him off of the New Orleans Saints' practice field.

Brees told ESPN that he will participate in OTA practices when they kick off on Tuesday.

“I’m not missing any offseason,” Brees said.

That’s not surprising since Brees remains under contract through the 2016 season. But it’s still a positive sign that his lingering contract talks won’t become a major distraction this offseason.

Brees missed all of the Saints’ summer workouts in 2012, but he was unsigned under the franchise tag at the time.

This time around, the Saints and Brees have no real deadline pressure to get a deal done until next March, when he would become an unrestricted free agent.

Brees has said repeatedly this year that he hopes and expects to finish his career with the Saints, and he is confident an extension will get done eventually -- but there is no real deadline.

It seemed like the Saints and Brees were going to work this out months ago, since his salary-cap cost is a whopping $30 million this year and an extension could have lowered that number before the start of free agency. But the Saints used other methods to lower their salary-cap figure instead.

Most likely, the Saints didn’t want to get backed into a corner so that Brees and agent Tom Condon wouldn’t have all the leverage. Now it seems like both sides are content to stay patient and wait each other out.

Condon recently told the Rich Eisen Show that the Saints “seem to be satisfied with carrying” Brees’ $30 million cap figure for now.

Perhaps the Saints are hoping that Brees will be motivated to work out an extension before the season to avoid the risk of injury hurting his case. The 37-year-old has battled a series of minor injuries over the past two years to his oblique, shoulder and foot.

But then again, Brees has continued to play at an elite level, leading the league with 4,870 passing yards in just 15 games last year. And Condon has noted how quarterback salaries have been skyrocketing, including deals worth $17.5-18 million per year for Sam Bradford and Brock Osweiler.

The Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco became the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL earlier this year with an extension worth $22.1 million per year. Brees will likely raise that bar even further whenever his next deal gets done.