Drew Brees says contract talks 'last thing I'm thinking about right now'

METAIRIE, La. -- Drew Brees laughed Wednesday when the subject of his future came up.

"It's not that I'm tired of it. I mean, I find it pretty funny," Brees said, referring to the multiple reports and rumors dating back to last offseason that have speculated the New Orleans Saints might consider trading or releasing him because of his high salary-cap figure.

"I mean, I think I've seen I will have been traded to no less than four other teams," he said. "And I'm sure that there will be a few more mentioned within the month of January. I chuckle. I wonder where they come from.

"I wonder how some people in this industry have a job, reporting some of the stuff that they report, with their sources or their cousin or whoever they're talking to for information. That's why I just kind of laugh. I chuckle."

Brees also laughed when asked if he expects to have talks with the Saints in the next month about his contract.

"That's the last thing I'm thinking about right now," he said.

It's a likely scenario, however, even if the Saints are intent on keeping Brees. He is due to make $20 million in salary and bonuses in the final year of his contract in 2016, with a salary-cap cost of $30 million, the highest for any player since at least 2002, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Saints could lower that figure by agreeing to a contract extension with Brees.

Brees, who turns 37 in January, acknowledged that he is aware of the speculation surrounding him and coach Sean Payton, with multiple reports that other teams could inquire whether Payton is available via trade.

Asked what it's like to play through the uncertainty of the Saints' future, Brees said, "I guess I don't see it that way."

"I don't see there as being uncertainty," he said. "So call me naive or just call me somebody who has a feeling. I feel like we're headed in the direction, going back to last season, [with a] plan that was put in place for going out and acquiring the type of veterans, the type of young talent, the type of leadership, character that we need to kind of build a foundation on which we can make a run at it here like '09, '10, '11, '12.

"I feel like that's what's taking place here right now."

The Saints overhauled nearly half of their roster this past offseason, starting the year with 13 rookies, admitting they needed to repair the character and culture of the locker room.

Brees said while the team's 6-9 record is disappointing, he still feels great about the team's direction.

"I don't know if I'd call [this season] underachieving," he said. "I would say that, yes, of course it's disappointing because our expectation level was much higher than where we are right now, record-wise. But I've seen some things despite the record, with all the adversity and with the disappointment that really encourages me for what I feel like we have and what we have to build upon as we move forward.

"I like what we have from a character and leadership perspective. And it really starts there. It can't start anywhere else. And when you feel like you have that, you always feel like you have a chance."

Payton also recently shot down the idea of Brees being replaced in the offseason. Offensive tackle Zach Strief added with enthusiasm Wednesday: "Drew Brees has had his best season in three years, so I don't really understand anybody discussing it.

"He's too good. There's like five of them in the world, on the whole planet, really. When you have one, you don't get rid of him."

Brees has also proved to be extremely resilient this year, playing some of his best football over the past two weeks despite tearing the plantar fascia in his right heel.

Brees did not take part in team drills on Wednesday, but he was dressed and present for the early portion of practice open to the media.

"I feel that I'm further ahead, obviously, this week than I was at this time last week," he said.

Judging by the fact that Brees threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns while playing through the injury last week, he appears likely to play again Sunday at the Atlanta Falcons.