January 1, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates throwing a touchdown pass in the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-US PRESSWIRE
By Nate Davis, USA TODAY
Rest easy, New Orleans Saints fans: Drew Brees finally has a new contract.
"Deal is Done! Love you, Who Dat Nation. See you soon!" Brees tweeted Friday afternoon.
The record-setting offensive player of the year in 2011 will receive a five-year, $100 million megapact, per ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
Brees will average a record $20 million annually -- Peyton Manning's new deal with the Denver Broncos averages $19.2 million -- and is also in line for $60 million in guaranteed money, reportedly to be paid out through the 2014 season. The guarantee matches what Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson got earlier this offseason when he signed an eight-year, $132 million contract.
Brees' haul in 2012 will be $40 million.
It's welcome good news for an organization scarred by the ongoing bounty scandal that has dominated offseason headlines. Brees' absence from workouts certainly hasn't helped a team that will be without suspended head coach Sean Payton in 2012 and, barring some courtroom wizardry, probably MLB Jonathan Vilma as well.
Brees, who passed for a single-season record 5,476 yards in 2011 and a league-high 46 TDs while leading New Orleans to the NFC South crown, had until Monday at 4 p.m. ET to strike a long-term deal, otherwise he would've been forced to play under the franchise tag this season.