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Saints GM Mickey Loomis agrees with Drew Brees, says no rush to sign new deal

MOBILE, Ala. -- If Drew Brees needed to prove to the New Orleans Saints that he's still got it, well, consider it done.

Brees, who turned 38 earlier this month, looked as good in 2016 as he has in five years, again leading the NFL in passing yards (with 5,208).

However, it doesn't sound as though there is any urgency from Brees or the Saints to discuss a long-term contract extension as he again heads into the final year of his deal.

That's a big change from last year, when Brees' contract talks dominated the offseason until he ultimately signed a one-year, Band-Aid extension before the season opener.

But Brees said earlier this month that he doesn't plan to push for an extension this year. And Saints general manager Mickey Loomis echoed Brees' thoughts Tuesday at the Senior Bowl.

"I think he's already addressed that, hasn't he? So I don't have anything to offer you in that regard," Loomis said. "You know, Drew's at that point in his career where for him, I think it's, 'Hey, how do I feel?' He had a great season, he's planning on having another great season. And then we'll go from there."

When asked why this year is different from last year, Loomis said, "I don't know that it is. You know, I haven't thought about it yet. We just finished the season, and we're just beginning the process of the upcoming season. So I haven't given that any thought."

The most likely answer to the question, however, is that it's the Saints who would prefer to take Brees' contract one year at a time at this stage of his career -- and Brees has to live with that if he wants to stay in New Orleans.

The Saints have no doubt that Brees is still among the NFL's elite quarterbacks -- which is why they had no problem paying him a fully guaranteed $24.25 million salary for the 2017 season. And they are also probably confident that Brees can continue to thrive into his 40s, which is his stated goal.

As Loomis said Tuesday, the Saints haven't thought much about life after Brees yet, because, "We're focused on, 'Hey, how can we make our team better right now for the 2017 season?'"

And because, "Drew was pretty darn good this year. He didn't show any signs of slowing down. So I'm excited about that."

However, the main reason why the Saints would probably prefer to sign Brees to one-year extensions instead of a long-term deal is because they want to have the flexibility to start rebuilding if that ultimately becomes the long-term plan.

The Saints love Brees and his current level of productivity -- but they also know that has led to three straight 7-9 season, which has them stuck in neutral.

At some point, if they don't find their own version of Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson, the Saints might have to decide to pull the trigger on an heir for Brees in Round 1 (heck, maybe they'll be attracted to Clemson's national champion QB Deshaun Watson -- aka "Michael Jordan -- this year with the No. 11 pick in the draft).

But chances are, the Saints will focus on going "all-in" for 2017, both because they feel like they're on the verge of a playoff push after a 2016 season that showed promise and because they are projected to have more than $25 million in salary-cap space once free agency kicks off.