Drew Brees was the free-agent quarterback who wasn’t.
With all the attention directed at Tom Brady and his still-stunning departure from the Patriots, it slipped through the cracks that another Hall-of-Fame lock was on the open market.
Maybe that is because it was clear from jump the Saints wanted to retain Brees and that Brees had no interest in playing elsewhere, after announcing in February that he was putting off retirement.
The reunion became a reality Tuesday morning when Brees and the Saints agreed on a two-year contract worth $50 million, according to multiple reports.
Television networks were interested in the 41-year-old Brees as an NFL game analyst, The Post’s Andrew Marchand reported, before he decided to continue playing.
Brees is the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns. He is six touchdowns ahead of Brady, who he could face twice next season as NFC South Division rivals if Brady winds up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But Brady has six Super Bowl rings and Brees still has just one – no doubt a primary reason he is still playing. The Saints have made three straight heartbreaking exits from the playoffs, losing on the game’s final play each time.
Of the four active leaders in passing yards and touchdowns – all among the seven all-time – only Brees will be back in the same uniform in 2020. Eli Manning retired from the Giants, Brady is headed elsewhere and Philip Rivers is a free agent who makes sense for the Buccaneers or Colts but is just content enough that he still could retire.
It is unclear if any of the quarterback-needy teams even checked in with Brees or his agent, or if all expected it would follow this path.
Brees, who trails Brady, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre with 163 career wins, was a free agent in 2005, leaving the Chargers for the Saints and making room for Rivers.