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Drew Brees' deal allows Saints to refocus on football

In an offseason filled with bad dreams for the New Orleans Saints, agreeing to terms on a new contract with Drew Brees on Friday brings this franchise one step closer to normalcy.

We expected a deal to be completed, but the burning question was when. Sealing Brees up before training camp means the Saints can finally think about football again.

For Brees, the wait paid off. Set to make $60 million guaranteed over the first three years of the five-year, $100 million pact, Brees' future is no longer in question. Brees is the New Orleans Saints, and this deal lifts any doubt about how the franchise values him: as one of the game's elite passers.

It doesn't lift the stink off the Saints, but lost in the "bounty" fiasco is how close this team came to the Super Bowl last season.

Under different circumstances, we'd be drowning in narratives about the Brees-led Saints gunning to play in Super Bowl XLVII before an adoring home crowd in the Superdome. They'd be darlings -- all season long -- but the bounty case has obscured that conversation.

It's easy to forget what this team is capable of, especially with its leader in the fold. Brees will remind us soon enough.

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