Saints quarterback Drew Brees continues his 20th NFL season on Monday against the Chargers — the franchise that selected him with the No. 32 pick in the 2001 NFL Draft.
Brees made his NFL debut that season on Nov. 4, 2001, when he replaced San Diego starter Doug Flutie in a loss to the Chiefs.
He took over as the full-time starter in 2002. He’s set the all-time records in passing yards (78,422) and TDs (555). Brees turned 41 this year, and he’s part of a group of select quarterbacks in NFL history who have started in their 40s.
How long will Brees play with the Saints? How long will Brees keep this us up?
Drew Brees contract details
Brees contemplated retirement after a 26-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC wild-card round last season, but that changed when he signed a two-year, $50 million contract on March 16, 2020.
Brees has a base salary of $2 million this season, and that jumps to $25 million in 2021. Brees would be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
Drew Brees age
Brees, now 41, has led the NFL in passing yards seven times and TD passes four times, and last year was his first season since turning 40.
He missed five starts because a thumb injury suffered against the Rams, and it was the first time he did not have 3,000 yards since 2003. Brees finished with 2,979 yards and 27 TDs, but he still led the NFL with a 74.3 completion percentage.
NFL QB stats in their 40s
Brees and Tom Brady made history in Week 1 in the oldest quarterback matchup in NFL history. Brees is a part of a select group of NFL quarterbacks who made starts after they turned 40 years old.
Quarterbacks in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who started after turning 40 include George Blanda, Warren Moon, Brett Favre, Len Dawson, Sonny Jurgensen and Johnny Unitas.
Brady and Brees are future first-ballot Hall of Famers, and they are the only two quarterbacks to throw five TDs in a game after turning 40.
Drew Brees in 2020
Brees enters Week 5 with 1,006 passing yards, eight TDs and two interceptions. The Saints are 2-2. Brees ranks seventh in the NFL with a passer rating of 108.2.
Next-generation statistics have become a topic of conversation with Brees this season. He averages 4.8 air yards per completion and 5.8 air yards per passing attempt. That’s among the lowest totals among starting NFL quarterbacks, but Brees has scoffed at the criticisms after a Week 2 loss to the Raiders.
“You know one of the statistics that was thrown out after the game was the yards per attempt or something like that,” Brees said via Bleacher Report. “There are many statistics I do not pay one bit of attention to, and that would be one of them.”
Drew Brees’ hunt for a second Super Bowl
Brees led the Saints to a victory in Super Bowl XLIV in 2009, but the veteran quarterback has yet to make a second Super Bowl appearance.
He’s 8-8 career in the postseason, and he’s reached the NFC championship game three times. The Saints lost 26-23 to the Los Angeles Rams in their last NFC championship appearance on Jan. 20, 2019.
Will Drew Brees play in 2021?
The two-year deal implies Brees would play at least one more year. The Saints would take a cap hit of $36.15 million if they released Brees, so it’s a good bet he plays at least one more season before contemplating retirement again.
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